'Prank' robbery lands two behind bars

Matthew Smith (Source: J. Reuben Long Detention Center)
Matthew Smith (Source: J. Reuben Long Detention Center)
Michael Riden (Source: J. Reuben Long Detention Center)
Michael Riden (Source: J. Reuben Long Detention Center)

NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Two North Carolina men are facing charges for attempted armed robbery; it's an act they say was intended to be a prank.

Matthew Wayne Smith, 22, of Tabor City and 46-year-old Michael Glen Riden of Kannapolis, NC were booked into J. Reuben Long Detention Center and charged with attempted armed robbery and criminal conspiracy.

The report from North Myrtle Beach Police says the incident those charges originate from occurred on Saturday, July 6 at Dodge's Store on Highway 17.

The female clerk working at the time says a young man came in to pay for his gas, followed by another man who had a firearm and pointed it at the other's head demanding the cash from the register.

The clerk claims she froze, and called for another employee. That's when the man with the gun lowered it and said it was a joke.

Both men then left the store, the report states. When police arrived and reviewed surveillance video, they saw exactly what the clerk had described. The video showed Michael Riden walking into the store, taking a look behind the counter and walking back out.

Minutes later, Matthew Smith drove up. Michael Riden was a passenger in his car when they arrived, but they left separately.

Police contacted Matthew Smith, who was identified by a store employee, and asked him to come back to the store. He told police that he saw Michael Riden walking along the side of the road in Atlantic Beach and offered him a ride, but did not know him. He says he walked into the store to pay for his gas when Riden pointed the gun at him, then told everyone it was a BB gun and just a joke.

When asked about the doctor's appointment Smith said he had to go to, he could not name the doctor's office. Smith and the woman in the truck with him later told police they were lying about the appointment because Smith's license was suspended, and that's why they fled the scene.

When police located Michael Riden, he confirmed he was riding with Smith and another woman when they stopped for gas. Riden claimed the prank robbery was Smith's idea, but he backed off when he realized everyone in the store was taking it very seriously.

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