UPDATE: Suspect Charged in January 17 Armed Robbery at Kohl's

UPDATE: Suspect Charged in January 17 Armed Robbery at Kohl's

Gastonia, N.C. - May 8, 2023: Gastonia Police Department (GPD) detectives have charged 31-year-old James Randall Willard of Bessemer City, North Carolina for the January 17 armed robbery of a Kohl’s store.

On January 17, GPD officers responded to the Kohl’s store on E. Franklin Boulevard for an armed robbery that just occurred.  

The investigation determined that the suspect used a hammer to smash out the glass of a wedding ring and accessory display case, pepper sprayed a female employee who approached him, and stole jewelry valued at $80,000.

On January 26, detectives released surveillance video of the suspect and asked the public for help identifying him.

Investigators received numerous tips and ultimately identified Willard as the suspect. After identifying Willard, detectives learned that he was in jail in another county on an unrelated charge.

Investigators obtained an arrest warrant for Willard charging him for the Kohl’s robbery.  He was transported to the Gaston County Jail and he is being held on a $52,000 bond.


                                                                                                                                                James Randall Willard


James Willard


Print   Email











Gastonia, N.C., just minutes west of Charlotte, is one of the area’s best places to live and work with an ideal combination of location, size and livability. Gastonia is the largest of Gaston County’s 13 municipalities and one of the largest cities in the Charlotte metropolitan area. Selected as an All-America City three times, Gastonia’s desirable quality of life is the result of its beautiful natural surroundings, friendly neighborhoods, responsive government and vibrant business environment.

Footer Contact


181 S. South Street
Gastonia, NC 28052