Weatherford Democrat

Local News

August 23, 2011

Hunted down

Armed robbery suspects arrested in manhunt

WEATHERFORD — Police confirmed three suspects were taken into custody following an early morning robbery at Walgreens on South Main and a several-hour manhunt off of Clear Lake Road.

Two residents in the housing addition told the Democrat that police told them four suspects were taken into custody Monday morning, though the Democrat was unable to verify that with police late Monday afternoon.

Richard Bovio said he never shops at the store in the 1300 block of South Main Street, but had stopped by for cigarettes on his way to work around 4:30 a.m.

There was no one at the counter, so he waited for a little while, Bovio said.

Then he heard something and saw two men come running around the corner, Bovio said.

“One had a gun,” Bovio said.

One man had a bag of money and the other had a bag of what appeared to be pills, he said.

The men were dressed in long sleeves, ball caps and were wearing white masks that appeared to be longer than a typical surgical mask, according to Bovio.

“They didn’t really pay any attention to me,” Bovio said.

The men ran toward the door, but one man dropped the bag of money and tried to pick it up as the other man yelled at him to leave it and come on, according to Bovio.

The man ended up leaving rolls of change and a $10 bill by the door, he said.

As they left, he said he pulled out his cell phone and dialed 911.

A woman was able to point out the car as it went down East Park Avenue, and police arrived a very short time later, according to Bovio.

“I didn’t even get my cigarettes,” Bovio said laughing.

An officer responding to the call was traveling southbound on Foster Drive when he met up with the suspect vehicle at the intersection of Foster and East Park Avenue, according to Weatherford police.

A short pursuit began and officers followed the vehicle in the Clear Lake housing addition, where the vehicle became disabled, according to police.

Police said they believe the car’s axle broke when it took a curve or bottomed out while traveling at a high rate of speed.

Three suspects reportedly fled on foot, according to police.

The neighborhood, with large brick homes, big manicured yards and full of trees, is normally quiet, according to residents.

Dawn Baldwin, who lives on Basswood Court, said she had set her alarm for 5:30 a.m. so she could get her children to school on time the first day of the school year.

Sirens, a lot more than the usual emergency vehicles traveling down the highway, woke her up around 4:45 a.m., Baldwin said.

A short time later, two men went running past windows, according to Baldwin.

“We heard them and saw them inside our backyard,” Baldwin said.

Baldwin said she called 911.

“It’s not something I want to wake up to,” Baldwin said.

Helicopters, including one provided by Fort Worth police, and law enforcement agencies, including the Parker County Sheriff’s Office, the Weatherford Parker County Special Crimes Unit and the Parker County Fugitive Apprehension Strike Team, assisted in the manhunt in the neighborhood.

Another woman, who lives on the same street and asked not to be named, said she was outside checking on her dog around 7:15 a.m. and had no idea anything was going on, when she saw a man standing on her retaining wall in her back yard and another man with his hand on the wall appearing to prepare to jump up on it.

The woman said she made eye contact with the man and they stared at each other in shock when she realized she should go inside.

She locked the door, got her gun and dialed 911, the woman said.

She was able to provide a description of a man with a goatee and a blue shirt and a man with a white shirt to police, she said.

One of the men was caught in her neighbor’s yard, according to the woman.

“The more I thought about it, [that they were armed robbery suspects] ... the more it scares me now,” the woman said.

Karen Smith, who lives on Country Brook Drive and was headed to the gym, said she turned onto Clear Lake Drive around 6:30 a.m. and a police officer stopped her and checked her car.

The officer told her four armed robbers had been chased into the neighborhood, Smith said.

She called her husband at that point and told him to make sure the doors were locked.

When she arrived back at the house around 8 a.m., law enforcement was blocking the driveway and searching the creek, Smith said.

“It’s such a small town, but we’re getting big city crime,” Smith said.

Police said an arrest was made in the 2200 block of Maplewood at 7:35 a.m., another arrest made in the 1900 block of Clear Creek Drive at 8:02 a.m., and another arrest made in the 2000 block of Woodland Hills by 8:13 a.m.

All were taken into custody without incident, according to Cpl. Wendy Field.

Phenergan, a liquid medication containing codeine, and an unspecified amount of cash was reported taken, according to police.

Weapons or stolen items were recovered, though specifics were not released pending a search warrant for the suspect vehicle, according to police.

The names of the suspects were not released Monday by the Weatherford Police Department pending charges.

However, jail records indicate Jenarious Jerod Gipson, 19, of Fort Worth, was charged with aggravated robbery after being arrested Monday morning by the Weatherford Police Department.

Isiah Demarcus Roberts, 18, of Fort Worth, was arrested by Weatherford police and booked into the Parker County Jail around 10 a.m. on a Tarrant County warrant for aggravated robbery, according to jail records.

An 18-year-old Fort Worth woman and a 21-year-old Fort Worth man were also arrested on Fort Worth traffic warrants and booked into Parker County Jail around 8:30 a.m., according to jail records.

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