CAUGHT ON CAM: Employee pistol whipped at Lincolnton cell phone store

- One person is in custody and two others are on the run after Lincolnton police said the group robbed a cell phone store on Saturday and pistol whipped an employee.

The entire incident was caught on security camera.

Mark Jonathan McDowell, 34, of Kings Mountain, has been charged with robbery with a dangerous weapon, conspire to commit robbery with a dangerous weapon, felony larceny, conspire to commit felony larceny, and possession of stolen property. 

The robbery happened around 1:40 p.m. at the SEA Wireless store on Riverside Drive. The bell rang at the front door Saturday afternoon, but it wasn't a customer. An intruder burst in and pistol whipped the man behind the counter who then fell to the floor.

That's when the intruder, his accomplice and even the other customer helped themselves to the merchandise.  

"I was shocked cause Lincolnton don't have no robberies usually," Ralph Blackwell said, who was the employee behind the counter.

For Blackwell, he was just doing his job by helping a customer, seen in the security video, choose a new cell phone. Blackwell quickly realized that something was off.

"He went back to the door area and he just waved people in and that's when I started being suspicious," Blackwell said. 

He was right. The situation went from buying a phone, to a full beatdown. Blackwell even landed a few blows himself.

"He had me by the shirt. I tried to get loose. He chased me back here and I picked up an object and I hit him and he got loose. That's when I called the cops and locked the back doors and stuff," said Blackwell.

The suspects got away with a few cell phones and some cash. The "supposed" customer, calmly walked out with them. Blackwell was left with two staples in his head and a knot on the side of his face.

Despite his harrowing experience, Blackwell said it won't change how he does business.

"No. I go about my job. I am still a friendly person," he said. 

One of the men seen in the video has been arrested. Anyone with information about the robbery should call the Lincolnton Police Department. 

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