On December 9th, 2022 at about 4:15 PM, the Gaston County Police Department responded to the Family Dollar located at 2001 Davis Park Road, near Gastonia, NC, in reference to an armed robbery. Initial reports indicated the business was robbed at gunpoint by two African American males. The two suspects fled with an undisclosed amount of cash from the business in a vehicle. A Gaston County Sheriff’s Deputy located the vehicle a short distance away. The Gaston County Police K9 Unit tracked the two suspects. During this track, items of evidentiary value were located. The two suspects were able to evade arrest.
The Criminal Investigations Unit has been investigating this incident since it occurred. Detectives were able to identify suspect #1 as:
Julio Angel Escalera Padilla of 769 Watkins Rd, Gastonia, NC- There are currently outstanding warrants for Padilla. Padilla is considered armed and dangerous.
Suspect #2 is described as an African American male approximately 35 to 45 years of age, between 5’ 5” and 5’ 8”, and weighing between 230 and 250 pounds.
The Gaston County Police wishes to acknowledge the cooperation between several agencies that assisted with this investigation, including the Gastonia Police and Gaston County Sheriff’s Office.
The public is urged to contact the Gaston County Police with any information related to the location of Padilla. Citizens should not attempt to detain Padilla. Instead, citizens are encouraged to call 911 if they encounter the suspect.
This is an on-going investigation. If you have information pertinent to the investigation, such as the identification of the second suspect, please call Gaston County Police Detective C. Cogdill at 704-866-3320. Information can also be provided through Crimestoppers at 704-861-8000. A reward of up to $1,000 is available for information provided in this case.