Skip to comments.North Little Rock, AR cops stand by and watch as convenience store is robbed!
Posted on 08/31/2002 9:15:32 AM PDT by DCBryan1
Police watched store robbery, court files say
BY JIM BROOKS
North Little Rock police knew hours ahead of time that a convicted robber and kidnapper planned to hold up a convenience store Feb. 8 and watched as the robbery occurred, court records reveal.
But police never told the store clerk and waited until the armed man left the business before attempting to arrest him, the files show.
Investigators were tipped off about the robbery of the E-Z Mart at 3600 MacArthur Drive by a confidential informant who dropped the robber off a short distance from the store while police staked out the business. Police knew the informant would be driving the robber to the store, the records say.
Police confronted Willie Roy Lowery, 32, as he walked from the store, but Lowery bolted and hid for three hours in a nearby drainage ditch before he was arrested.
The clerk, Aaron Black, was not injured in the robbery. Black declined a request for an interview.
Blacks mother, who declined to give her name, said her son told her that police explained their timely presence at the convenience store by saying they were in the area investigating reports of cars being broken into at a nearby business. (Police lying to civilians!?> Say it ain't so!)
"It sounds like they [police] put my sons life in danger," she said when told about the court filing. (No Mam, They DID put your son's life in danger.)
North Little Rock Police Chief Danny Bradley said that, after speaking with prosecutors handling the case, he would not release details or answer specific questions about the incident until a forthcoming trial is concluded. But the chief said police have to consider multiple factors in determining the safest way to apprehend a suspect.
"A lot of times, you make the decision to allow the person to leave before trying to make an apprehension," he said. "I can say that as a matter of policy... the safety of the public is our primary concern."
Efforts to reach criminal justice experts at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, as well as at the Criminal Justice Institute in Little Rock, were unsuccessful.
The circumstances surrounding the robbery emerged in court documents filed by prosecutors who were attempting to keep the identity of the informant a secret from Lowerys defense attorney.
The informant issue surfaced during a July 24 jury trial that had to be rescheduled. Pulaski County Circuit Judge John Langston set an Aug. 12 hearing on defense attorney Herb Wrights motion to force the state to name the informant. Four days later, Langston ruled in favor of the defense.
In a response to the defense motion, Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Melanie Martin outlined the testimony expected at Lowerys coming trial: "A confidential informant gave the officers a tip on the evening of Feb. 7 that the defendant would be robbing the store sometime that evening," Martin wrote. "This led to the store being surrounded by officers at the time of the offense.
"The facts would reveal that this confidential informant dropped the defendant off approximately fifty yards from the store and then drove off. The confidential informant was not detained by the police, nor was he arrested and charged with being an accomplice."
Lowery was on parole at the time of the robbery. He was sentenced to 35 years in prison in June 1987 after being convicted of aggravated robbery, felony theft and kidnapping, but was paroled less than 11 years later. In September 1998, he was returned to prison after his parole was revoked, but he again was released on parole in July 2001. After his arrest in the E-Z Mart robbery, Lowery was returned to prison. His trial date on aggravated-robbery and theft charges is set for Sept. 10 in Langstons court.
A trial on a charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm is set for Oct. 31 in the same court.
The robbery occurred about 3:30 a.m. on Feb. 8 and was captured on the stores video cameras.
A police report in the case said a robber entered the store wearing a hood over his head, threatened Black with a handgun and demanded money. The robber took a packing knife from Black and forced him to walk from the store at gunpoint, court records reveal.
"After exiting the store with the clerk, the defendant [Lowery ] was surrounded by officers and told to stop," Martin wrote in the court document. "He fled from the police, and during the pursuit dropped the money, cigarettes and his jacket."
North Little Rock police arrested Lowery several hours later after he emerged from a drainage culvert near the convenience store. Lowery did not have a gun when he was arrested, but he was charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm based on his statement to detectives.
Martin and Wright declined to speak about the impending case.
Kim Fowler, a spokesman for E-Z Mart corporate offices in Texarkana, Texas, said the company works closely with law enforcement officials in every community.
"We trust that they know what theyre doing," she said. "We have faith in their ability to serve and protect."UN FREAKING BELIVABLE!
Dale Sides, director of loss prevention for the company, said he knows of several situations in which police staked out a robbery without notifying the clerk.
"This is really not uncommon," he said. "In fact, clerks are probably better off not knowing."
Sides said if a clerk is aware of an impending robbery and knows police are watching, he might act nervously or impulsively and put himself in more danger.
"He might have false hope knowing that officers are just outside and might do something to endanger himself," Sides said. "Our No. 1 priority is the safety of our employees."
North Little Rock Alderman Tony Vestal declined to comment on the polices handling of the robbery.
"I knew that the robbery occurred, but I didnt know about the exact circumstances," said Vestal, who represents the ward in which the robbery occurred.
"Without having all the information, I wouldnt want to make a judgment one way or the other on how the police handled it."
THIS IS ONE REASON I ALWAYS CARRY A GUN.
Be sure to send this article to your friends who believe that the Police WILL be there to protect you!
Stay safe, be armed!
HERE IS A "THE POLICE WON'T/CAN'T PROTECT YOU" +
SELF-DEFENSE IS UP TO YOU BANG!
Anyone want to join me?
These POS LEO's staked out that clerk like a lamb with a wait and see attitude.
Stay Safe DC !
Umm "public is our primary concern" GUESS NOT
I was wondering the same thing. Perhaps they thought the perpetrator would bolt if he saw an unfamiliar face.
But, aside from putting the clerk in unnecessary danger, I think they did the right thing by waiting for the perpetrator to leave the store before confronting him.
(a) Arrest two people for walking into a store - before they do anything - and try them on an informant's testimony?
(b) Arrange a substitute for the cashier? Without the store's permission? With no training on store procedures? Who might be detected as a policeman by the thieves?
(c) Arrest the thieves in the store after they show a weapon? Risking a shootout inside?
Waiting to arrest outside the store seems reasonable to me. And, if the police gave a funny story, it was probably to protect their informant.
(d) Have a SWAT officer in civilian clothing blow the life-long criminal, three time parolee's heart out of his back with a close shotgun blast.
This is the point that the libs always conveniently blow off. The cops are NOT obligated to protect you. Courts have ruled that you can't sue the cops for not preventing crime, even in cases of gross dereliction of duty where the crime is happening right in front of them. Therefore, it only makes sense that people should step up and be responsible for their own defense.
Call me crazy, but I think people should be expected to provide for their own self-defense and we should all be a lot less dependent on law enforcement, and "law enforcement" needs to quit prosecuting innocent people for having the terrible gall to protect themselves. More dead criminals means less live ones that go to prison to live off society for free, get 3 squares a day, sleep in a warm comfy bed, watch color cable TV, and get stoned all day because drugs are more available in prison than on the street.
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