A man thought to be involved in a string of robberies in Upper York County was found guilty of trying to rob Advance Auto Parts while armed with a BB gun.
Judge Frederick Lowe found Chad Dallas Jackson, 28, of Gloucester, guilty Tuesday of one felony count of attempt to commit armed robbery.
Though investigators believe Jackson was involved in several gunpoint robberies in York County in July 2014, all charges except the one connected to the incident witnessed by investigators were dropped.
On July 30, 2014, a York-Poquoson Sheriff’s Office deputy and a Virginia State Police officer were working together to stake out businesses along Merrimac Trail because of the recent string of robberies that had occurred in that area.
The two were undercover, surveying the street from the Farm Fresh parking lot, when they saw a man disappear behind a bush near Advance Auto Parts then reappear wearing a black hooded sweatshirt.
Jackson approached the door, which he found locked despite the store’s regular hours not ending for another 15 minutes.
“I locked up early because I had a bad feeling,” said the Advance Auto Parts night manager, who testified for the prosecution.
When Jackson turned back around to leave the way he came, the investigators drove over to the parking lot, where he was arrested.
Jackson was found to have a flashlight, mask, baseball cap and firearm in his possession. Upon closer inspection, the officers determined the firearm was a BB gun that had been marked to more closely resemble a regular pistol.
In Tuesday’s trial, the defense argued Jackson may have been prepared to rob Advance Auto Parts but did not cross the line into an actual attempted robbery because he turned away from the store when he discovered the door was locked.
“Intent to commit a crime is the doing of some direct action toward that crime that is more than preparation but less than execution,” Lowe said.
Lowe said the presence of the mask, baseball cap, flashlight and weapon on their own amounted to preparation; because Jackson approached the door of the business, he crossed the line into an active attempted robbery.
Jackson’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Sept. 22.