Poplarville Sonic robbery suspects caught

Published 12:10 am Sunday, January 4, 2009

Two suspects have been arrested for the armed robbery of the Poplarville Sonic.

Community complaints of a suspicious vehicle parked in a residential area down the road from the restaurant led to the arrest of the two suspects who also are under investigation for possible involvement in Sonic robberies in other jurisdictions, according to a press release from the Poplarville Police Department.

The release states that the two suspects are Jay Magee, 20, of 26472 Ray Jones Rd., Franklinton, La. and Palanstea Williams, 19, of 1515 Parker St., Franklinton, La. Both are charged with the armed robbery of the Poplarville Sonic.

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They were caught after the Poplarville Police Department received a call on Friday evening concerning a suspicious vehicle parked in a residential area. The call stated the two men got out of the car and walked out of the area on foot. Officers checked out the complaint and found the parked car unlocked with the keys still in the ignition. The keys were removed from the ignition and the car was locked by the officer, the release states.

Later that night the Sonic was robbed at gunpoint by suspects wearing masks who entered the business just after it closed for the day, the release states. Money was taken from the store by the robbers. After the robbers took the money, they put the employees in the restaurant’s cooler and attempted to make an escape.

A 911 call was made by a Sonic employee describing the robbery and minutes later another 911 call was made by the same concerned citizen who had reported the abandoned vehicle. The second call from the citizen described the same two men as attempting to get into the now locked vehicle, the release states.

Officers responded to the area of the locked vehicle and located Magee in the vicinity.

Williams was located by Pearl River County Sheriff’s officer Sgt. Edmon Penton early the next morning riding a stolen bicycle down U.S. 11. Penton used a description provided by the Poplarville Police, said Sheriff’s Department Chief Investigator Donnie Saucier. Evidence was found on Williams linking him to the scene of the robbery and investigators also determined the bicycle he was on was stolen.

Saucier said the good working relationship between the Poplarville Police Department and it’s chief, Charlie Fazende, and the Sheriff’s Department enabled the deputy to apprehend Williams.

Saucier said Sheriff David Allison is proud of his deputies and Poplarville Police Department for solving this crime so quickly.

An armed robbery of the Picayune Sonic took place on the night before Thanksgiving, also involving employees being locked in the cooler. Public Relations Officer Capt. Theresa Milar could not comment Saturday on whether the two incidents are related.

The release states that law enforcement agencies in surrounding areas also are investigating Williams and Magee for their possible involvement of similar robberies in other jurisdictions.