Three men and one woman were taken into custody after officers arrived on the scene of the crew’s latest gas station job shortly after midnight on Wednesday, June 6.
The arrests of the suspects concluded an ongoing investigation of three armed robberies committed by the crew since May 28.
“With the arrests, we were able to close the cases from all three incidents,” said Chris Lyons, detective lieutenant with the Catoosa County Sheriff’s Office. “There were three separate incidents in which these offenders robbed gas stations in the area, and now they are in custody.”
Jerry Bernard Springs Jr., 18, Jeffery Kenneth Lebron Williams Jr., 18, Rayford Lamar Grayson, 18, and LaRaesha Nicole Grayson, 20, all of Chattanooga, Tenn., were arrested on June 6 and charged with multiple counts of armed robbery, including eight counts from the Catoosa County Sheriff’s Office in addition to charges they face from the Fort Oglethorpe, Ga., and East Ridge, Tenn., police departments.
Catoosa County sheriff’s deputies responded to an armed robbery at the Mapco Express at 1792 Lakeview Drive at approximately 12:08 a.m. on June 6.
When deputies arrived they found two black males holding up a white male near a red Ford pickup truck that was parked next to the building, just moments after they had robbed the actual store, reports show.
The two robbers quickly climbed a nearby retaining wall and ran into the wooded area behind the store.
“One victim told me that two black males entered the store and pointed revolvers at her and another lady whom they made lay on the floor,” deputy Shane Craig wrote in the report. “The victim stated that they then made her open the cash registers.”
The robbers took the money from the register, in addition to taking cell phones, wallets, cash, and a makeup bag from the two women in the store, reports show.
The robbers then left the store and held up the white male in the parking lot.
“The suspects forced the man out of his vehicle at gunpoint and made him lay on the ground,” Craig said. “They took $20 from him, threw his keys into the wooded area behind the store and searched his vehicle. They saw my vehicle approach and jumped over the wall and ran into the woods.”
Deputies began patrolling the area of Lynnwood subdivision, located directly behind the Mapco Express.
Jeffery Williams, Rayford Grayson, and LaRaesha Grayson were all quickly caught by officers with the East Ridge Police Department, while Catoosa County sheriff’s deputies were dispatched to a residence at 261 Loach Drive in reference to a black male who had knocked on the door of a home, asking to use a telephone.
Upon arrival, deputies identified the black male as Jerry Bernard Springs Jr.
Springs told police his 1988 Oldsmobile Cutlass had overheated and he had stopped at the Mapco Express, where he was then robbed at gunpoint, reports show.
He claimed he then went through the woods and knocked on the door in order to report the robbery.
In an ironic turn of events, William Mann, who is a district manager for Mapco Inc., owns the residence at 261 Loach Drive that Springs approached in search of a telephone.
Deputies took Springs back to the Mapco Express to speak to detectives, who were still on the scene, along with corporal Tony Lawson, who had already traveled to East Ridge, Tenn., and taken photographs of the suspects in custody of the East Ridge Police Department in order to show them to the store clerks who witnessed the robbery, reports show.
“While conducting a vehicle inventory, the vehicle was identified as belonging to Mr. Springs after a title identifying him as the owner was found in the glove box,” Craig said.
Further search of the vehicle revealed clothing, specifically a pair of shorts, which contained $200 in cash and Springs’ identification card.
Springs was transported to Catoosa County jail, while Williams, and the Graysons were taken to the Hamilton County, Tenn., jail by the East Ridge Police Department.
The first robbery took place at the Quick Mart on LaFayette Road in Fort Oglethorpe on May 28, and the second occurred at the Mega Star gas station on U.S. 41 on Sunday, June 3.
All three incidents played out in similar fashion, with the robbers entering the stores, and holding up employees at gunpoint while cleaning out the registers and taking cell phones, wallets, and other items from victims at the scene.
During the robberies that occurred at the Mega Star and Mapco Express, the crew went a step further with their crimes by holding up citizens in the parking lots.
“This case could not have been closed without the fantastic work of all the agencies involved,” Lyons said. “Our officers, and those with the police departments in Fort Oglethorpe and East Ridge did a great job with this case.”
Springs is currently being held in Catoosa County jail without bond, while the other three suspects remain in Hamilton County, Tenn., jail due to a delay in the extradition process.
“The offenders in custody in Hamilton County have refused to sign extradition papers to be brought back to Georgia, so a governor’s warrant will have to be obtained in order to bring them back,” Lyons said.