A suspect in the armed robbery of a Saltville gas station has been identified.
Saltville Police Chief Erik Puckett said arrest warrants have been issued for 33-year-old Ryan David Huffman on felony robbery and malicious wounding charges.
Puckett said Huffman was a regular customer at the Cargo gas station, so the clerk working the day of the robbery was able to recognize him by appearance, even with a mask on, and by his voice, but did not know his name.
Puckett said the clerk told police she at first did not take the robber seriously when he demanded she turn over the contents of the cash register. But, Puckett said, the man then pulled out a knife.
“For a second, she didn’t know how to react,” Puckett said, explaining that the clerk, still not believing she was being robbed, tried to dismiss the man’s knife hand and received minor injuries.
“At that point, she realized he was serious and opened up the drawer,” Puckett said.
The man left the store on foot after getting the cash, Puckett said. Because the clerk only knew the man by appearance and voice, and not by name, police turned to the community to try to identify him.
With the help of some of the other clerks, the store manager and other community members, police identified the robber as Huffman.
A search of Huffman’s West Main Street home came up empty for their suspect. Puckett said investigators do know Huffman left in a vehicle but do not know where he is currently located.
Anyone who has information on Huffman’s whereabouts is asked to call the Saltville Police Department at 276-496-4321 or the Smyth County Sheriff’s Office at 276-783-7204.