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Masked men rob food mart, steal lotto tickets
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 Another week another armed robbery in Newton County.

This time two black men made off with $280 in cash and $100 in lottery tickets Monday when they robbed Discount Food Mart located on Ga. Highway 142, said Newton County Sheriff's Lt. Bill Watterson.

One of the men entered the store at approximately 10 p.m. wielding a handgun while the second man stood guard outside. The man inside reportedly shoved the gun into the clerk's face and demanded money. On the way out, the robber reportedly took $100 worth of lottery tickets to go along with the $280 he took from the register.

Both men were clad in all black, with their hands and faces covered as well.

 Watterson said if the thieves attempt to cash in the lottery tickets, an alert will appear on the cashier's computer screen identifying the tickets as stolen. Once the alert is given, cashiers are trained to call the police.

The robbery is the 42 in Newton County since Nov. 26, 2006. Four of those robberies have occurred in the past two weeks. Watterson attributed the recent surge in armed robberies to the holiday season, historically one of the busiest times of the year for law enforcement officials.

Newton County experienced a similar spree from the end of August to the middle of September when 10 armed robberies occurred.

"We have made some arrests in some of these cases while others have kind of hit a dead end," Watterson said. "We are always looking for any information the public can give us on this case or any other case."

Anyone with information regarding the robbery on Ga. Highway 142 is asked to call the Newton County Sheriff's Office at (678) 625-1403. Tips may also be given anonymously at (678) 625-5007 or on their Web site