Fired Manager Releases Hostages At Grocery Store
MOBILE, Ala. (AP) _ A former grocery store manager who was fired for moving in with an employee surrendered early today after taking several store employees hostage in a robbery attempt.
Bond Hopper Jr., 32, and his girlfriend, 24-year-old Cynthia Goucher, were being held today at the Mobile Metro Jail, police Maj. Wilbur Williams said.
The two were charged with first-degree robbery, police said.
Hopper and Goucher entered a Delchamps grocery store shortly before it closed late Thursday and hid, police said. After the store closed, the couple donned ski masks, drew guns and tried to rob five or six employees still inside the store.
The two herded the employees inside the store’s meat freezer, Williams said.
Police had been staking out the store on a tip that Hopper might seek revenge for being fired and saw what was happening, he said.
Police officers were placed around the store and on the roof. Police eventually entered the store and used a public address system to negotiate a surrender.
Williams said the hostages were released after about two hours.
The couple fled out the back door, where they were met by officers. Police said a brief scuffle followed.
A store employee, Dahrma Harvey, said Hopper was fired for violating company policy against romances between management and employees. She said Hopper and Goucher recently moved in together.
Delchamps spokesman George Waldron said company policy says that if a man and woman working in the same store marry, one will be offered a transfer. He declined to comment on Hopper’s situation while the hostage incident was being investigated by police.