GJ police: Inside job suspected in robbery
A 22-year-old man arrested in an armed robbery at a North Avenue fast-food chain may have had help on the inside, according to court records.
Deone Tyrone Patterson, of Fountain, was ordered held at the Mesa County Jail on a $10,000 cash-only bond following his arrest on suspicion of aggravated robbery, first-degree kidnapping, menacing and misdemeanor theft, all relating to a robbery reported around 8 p.m. Tuesday at Burger King, 1730 North Ave.
District Attorney Pete Hautzinger told a judge he won’t likely file the first-degree kidnapping charge, a Class 2 felony. County Judge Craig Henderson said Grand Junction police had “questionable” probable cause for listing the charge in an arrest affidavit.
Patterson may not be the last arrest in the case.
“There appears to be something else going on with potential co-defendants,” Hautzinger told the judge.
An employee at the Burger King told officers they found it “coincidental” that another man who works at the restaurant had left moments before a masked suspect walked inside the store, brandished a handgun and demanded cash, the affidavit said. The co-worker under suspicion also had a friend, who looked similar to the robbery suspect, the affidavit said. A man similar to the suspect’s description also was inside the store around 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday. No customers were inside at the time of the robbery.
Employees said a suspect may have entered from a rear door, which is locked during business hours, while the masked man appeared “suddenly” in the back section of the store, the affidavit said. The suspect, pointing a handgun, herded employees to the front of the store, then apparently changed his mind and brought them again to the rear. Three employees were ordered to lay next to a freezer, while a fourth emptied a safe and cash registers, the affidavit said. “Hurry up or I’ll shoot them,” the suspect told an employee. All four employees were forced inside a freezer and their cellphones were taken, the affidavit said. They waited there about five minutes, walked out and called 911.
Officers eventually contacted Patterson in the area of 29 3/8 Road and Bunting Avenue wearing boots and jeans and holding a distinctive bag matching the suspect’s description.
Patterson claimed an unknown man gave him the bag, but he didn’t admit to the robbery, the affidavit said.
The bag contained a little less than $300 in cash. It also had a name of a Burger King employee’s son—the son of the same co-worker who’d come under suspicion for walking out just before the suspect walked in, the affidavit said.
During a first court appearance Wednesday, Hautzinger told the judge Patterson has no prior criminal history. Public Defender Matthew Mulch said Patterson is scheduled to start classes this fall at Colorado Mesa University.