Larry D. Jones, 48, is known for his dependability -- and that characteristic made a Cary police officer suspicious a few minutes after 6 a.m.
Officer Shelly Cummings pulled into the convenience store to remove some litter from her patrol car, and noticed that Jones, a store co-owner who has worked at the store for 10 years, was not around even though the store was unlocked. Acquainted with his routine, Cummings let headquarters know she was investigating further.
There was no one in the store's office, and there were indications of a possible robbery. An undisclosed amount of cash is also gone, and there was no store videotape, possibly indicating that Jones encountered trouble before he was able to begin his normal morning routine.
Jones' vehicle, a 1992 blue and silver Chevrolet Blazer is missing. The car has a North Carolina's license tag: HYA 2627.
Anyone who sees this vehicle is asked to call 460-4636 or 469-4017. Motorists with cellular phones are asked to call *HP for the Highway Patrol, or *CP for the Cary Police Department.
Law enforcement in Tennessee, South Carolina and Virginia have joined in the search for Jones.
Cary police also are looking for any similarities between the Jones case and three other burglaries that have occurred within several blocks of the convenience store late Sunday night and early Monday morning. D'Nardys restaurant, 1259 Kildaire Farm Road, Lynn's Hallmark, 1335 Kildaire Farm Road, and Mailboxes Etc., 1381 Kildaire Farm Road, all were broken into. Money was taken from D'Nardys and Mailboxes Etc.
"We're investigating any connection based simply on the proximity of incidents," said Cary Lt. Steve Lee. "We are making every effort to find Mr. Jones and solve these cases as quickly as possible.
Several investigative divisions are involved in the search for Jones, and an air search by helicopter is also under way. A statewide broadcast has been made to law enforcement about Jones and the missing Blazer.
Jones, who employs several clerks who work other shifts, always took the early shift to open the store. His wife confirmed that he left home, as usual, to get to the store by 5 a.m. or so to prepare for opening.
The manager of the Quick10 store situated next to Parkway Convenience, says the occurrence is both "scary" and "too close to home."
"We'll be doing some things differently as a result of this," he said.