DALTON, Ga. — One man is in the Whitfield County jail and the sheriff's office is looking for three others following a "strong-arm" robbery of a trucker at the Pilot Travel Center at 243 Connector 3, south of Dalton, Tuesday morning.
The robbery happened "in the back parking lot" of the travel center, according to a press release from Sheriff Scott Chitwood.
A Pilot employee told a reporter it happened around 9 or 9:30 a.m. when the four men approached the truck driver about buying or selling tires. The employee said three of the men tried to hold the man while the fourth grabbed a bag with cash in it.
"The truck driver was strong-armed by four white male assailants," according to the press release. "During the struggle, the victim retrieved a handgun that he had on his person and attempted to counteract the robbery by shooting at one of the assailants. Once the victim commenced shooting, all the assailants dispersed."
One man left in a gold Chrysler Town & Country minivan. The others "fled on foot." The press release said it isn't clear if the men had another vehicle at the site.
Law enforcement issued a "be on the lookout" alert for the minivan. Shortly afterward, according to the press release, an officer with the Georgia Department of Public Safety Motor Carrier Compliance Division spotted the minivan traveling north on I-75 and stopped the driver around mile marker 341, about five miles north of the Rocky Face exit. The driver, Walter Wathen, 52, was arrested without incident. A sheriff's office spokesman said Wathen is from Cincinnati, Ohio.
The sheriff's office is still looking for the other three men, who are described as white males between the ages of 30 and 50. One was dressed in black pants, black shirt and a black hat. A second was dressed in a white shirt and blue jean or khaki shorts. The third was wearing a gray shirt and hat.
The press release said there were no injuries.