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Published: Thursday, March 30, 2017 @ 11:57 PM
Updated: Tuesday, April 04, 2017 @ 1:46 PM
Three of four suspects facing federal charges stemming from a series of cellphone store robberies – including a Troy Verizon store on Thursday – confessed to the crimes, according to an affidavit filed this afternoon in U.S. District Court in Indiana.
UPDATE@1:48 p.m. (April 4):
Police released surveillance video Tuesday of the suspects stealing from the store.
UPDATE @ 7 p.m. (March 31)
An armed robbery Thursday night at a Verizon Wireless store in Troy led to the apprehension of suspects already under FBI surveillance for a series of similar crimes in Indianapolis.
FBI Special Agent Wendy Osbourne said four suspects – identified as Darrin Bell, 27, Christopher Davis, 23, David McGhee, 25, and Kashawn Morrow, 26 – were taken into custody during traffic stops on Interstate 70 outside Indianapolis.
After tracking the suspects’ movements on Thursday as they appeared to case cellphone stores in Richmond, Huber Heights and Troy, three suspects were seen entering the Verizon Wireless store in Troy shortly before the 8 p.m. closing time. A fourth suspect remained by their two vehicles, a white 2014 Chevrolet Impala and a red Dodge Challenger, according to an affidavit filed this afternoon in U.S. District Court Southern District of Indiana by Special Agent Steven T. Secor of the FBI Violent Crime Task Force in Indianapolis.
A few minutes later, the three suspects were by the Challenger after exiting the rear of the Verizon store. They were seen quickly loading items into the trunk of the Challenger, and then the two cars left, getting onto southbound Interstate 75 while surveillance units kept them under observation, Secor stated. They later met in an empty parking lot a few miles south of Troy and shifted items between the two cars. The two cars then got back on I-75 to I-70 and headed west toward Indianapolis.
After crossing the state border, the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, FBI and Indiana State Police conducted a felony traffic stop of both vehicles. Bell, Davis and Morrow were in the Challenger, where two duffle bags filled with 74 cellphones in sealed packages were found in the trunk taken from the Troy store. McGhee was the only occupants of the Impala, where authorities found two loaded guns: a semi-automatic pistol and AR-style long gun, according to the affidavit.
Troy Police Capt. Joe Long said the suspects used a long rifle during the robbery at the Verizon store, and that the merchandise was recovered during the traffic stop.
Indianapolis police and the FBI began investigating those associated with the Chevrolet Impala after it was used as a getaway vehicle in a Feb. 19 armed robbery at a Sprint store in Indianapolis, the affidavit stated. Suspects in that robbery matched descriptions of similar robberies of two more Sprint store robberies Feb. 27 and March 4 in Indianapolis. By March 12, Indiana police and FBI maintained round-the-clock electronic surveillance of the Impala after it was found parked in front of a residence several days earlier.
On Thursday, law enforcement tracked the Impala as it headed east on I-70. Detectives and FBI agents followed it to Richmond, where it stopped at a Sprint store on East Main Street. Occupants in the Impala were seen talking with occupants of a red Dodge Challenger, and then both cars left and appeared to travel together east on I-70, Secor stated.
The two vehicles first headed to Troy and parked in front of several cellphone stores, including a Sprint and Verizon store, and stayed for several minutes in front of each store. “It appeared the occupants of the vehicles were observing the comings and goings of the employees and customers of these stores,” Secor stated.
The two vehicles then headed to Huber Heights, where they parked in front of several cellphone stores, including a Sprint, Verizon and AT&T store. At one point, one of the suspects briefly entered the AT&T store. They then headed back to Troy and parked near the Verizon store.
During interviews, Davis, McGhee and Morrow confessed to their roles in the crimes, and Darrin Bell was not interviewed, according to Secor’s affidavit.
“Davis admitted to robbing the Verizon store in Troy, Ohio, and stated the others also participated in the robbery. Davis stated only one gun was used during the robbery, the long gun found in the Impala, and that Morrow wielded the gun during the robbery. Davis also admitted he committed the other three cellphone store robberies ... Davis stated Morrow did indeed case the stores in the first two robberies for him and that Morrow participated in the third robbery by assisting during the robbery itself.”
Morrow also confessed to participating in the Troy robbery, according to the affidavit: “He also admitted to wielding the long gun during the robbery. Morrow further confessed to being the lookout on the first two robberies ... and actively participating in the third robbery.”
The affidavit states that McGhee admitted he was the getaway driver and that he cased the Sprint store in Richmond by going in the store and relaying layout and customer and employee numbers to the rest of the robbery crew. “It was determined at that time that the Richmond store was not a viable target, at which time the crew proceeded to Ohio.”
The four suspects appeared in federal court this afternoon.
Four people believed to have been involved in the robbery of a Verizon wireless retail store in Troy are in custody.
The suspects drove off from the store, in the 1800 block of West Main Street, and were apprehended nearly 130 miles later on I-70 outside Indianapolis.
According to a Troy police sergeant and a supervisor with the Ohio Highway Patrol Post in Dayton, the FBI is involved in the incident and any details would have to come from that agency.
The Troy police sergeant did say that the robbery was reported about 8 p.m. and that property was taken. There were no injuries.
Members of law enforcement agencies -- which jurisdictions have not been made clear -- followed the suspects west on I-70 into Preble County and then into Indiana until the vehicle was stopped.
A public information officer with the Indiana State Police confirms that the traffic stop was made on I-70 and that ISP was assisting the FBI.
WHIO.com monitored at least part of the incident, which included a request for a state patrol aviation unit. Whether that unit was activated is not clear.
Attempts to reach FBI media relations officials in the Dayton and Cincinnati offices have been unsuccessful.
We will continue digging for information and we will update this developing report.