North Carolina Couple Buy Rings, Get Engaged at Walmart Hours after Staging Armed Robbery: Police

A North Carolina couple were arrested this week after staging a convenience store robbery before buying rings and getting engaged at a local Walmart, police say.

Clarence William Moore III, 40, of Morganton, has been charged with armed robbery after taking $2,960 from a Big Daddy's store clerk who was later found to be his partner, Callie Elizabeth Carswell, 24. Police said the incident took place on Monday at approximately 10 p.m.

Carswell has been charged with armed robbery, misuse of 911 and filing a false police report, the Morganton News Herald first reported.

On the night of the incident, police said surveillance footage showed a man walking into the convenience store armed with a "long curved knife" and demanding wads of cash from the register and safe.

After he took a total of $2,960 from the shop's clerk at the time, Carswell reported the theft to the police.

She described a "black male or an older white male with a deep voice" who fled in a grey Toyota Camry. But investigators said cracks in the story began to show. Carswell's tale was significantly different than what the CCTV clip showed.

Morganton Department of Public Safety investigators who were reviewing the tapes spotted the same man in the store earlier in the day, and identified Moore with the help of social media.

After that, the story unraveled completely.

Police said a consensual search of Carswell's phone resulted in them finding videos of her and Moore getting engaged at a Walmart in the early hours of the morning after the robbery. They also found receipts that confirmed the engagement rings had been bought at Walmart.

Authorities found the store's cash during a search of Moore's vehicle, alongside a hand-written list of materials and items that the couple needed to carry out the scheme. During a search of the couple's home, police found the clothing worn during the robbery and the weapon used.

The MDPS confirmed: "After interviews with Callie Elizabeth Carswell investigators discovered Carswell was not a victim of an armed robbery. It was discovered Carswell's boyfriend, Clarence William Moore III was the suspect who entered the store armed and demanding money."

They were both taken into custody by Tuesday afternoon.

According to the Morganton News Herald, the male suspect admitted his role in the hoax, while Carswell continued to deny involvement. The newspaper said she lashed out at reporters during an appearance at the county magistrate's office Tuesday, threatening them with assault.

Both Carswell and Moore received a $50,000 bond. Police say additional charges are pending for both suspects. Following his own November 26 magistrate's office appearance, Moore was placed in a padded cell because he said he would harm himself and others, an arrest report stated.

Callie Elizabeth Carswell
Callie Elizabeth Carswell, 24, is charged with armed robbery, misuse of 911, and filing a false police report after allegedly plotting a robbery with her partner Clarence William Moore III, 40. Morganton Department of Public Safety