The Morrilton man accused in Monday morning’s armed robbery of the Arkansas Federal Credit Union has pleaded not guilty to related charges.
Demitris Maple, 31, of Morrilton, entered the plea on charges of aggravated robbery and theft of property Thursday afternoon before Faulkner County Circuit Judge Ed Clawson.
Maple was arrested Tuesday in Pope County, and officially charged Thursday for his alleged involvement in Monday morning’s heist.
According to an affidavit, an employee said a black male entered the bank, located at 220 Skyline Drive, around 10:45 a.m., came to her counter and placed a handgun on the counter along with a note that read "Give me aw the lose bills." Upon review of the bank’s surveillance footage, detectives said the suspect pointed a black handgun at the teller while holding a light-colored bag in his other hand.
The same employee told officers the subject made off with about $5,000, according to the affidavit.
Later in the day, police received a tip from a Walmart loss prevention officer, who upon seeing photos of the bank robbery suspect, believed it could possibly be Maple, who had been discovered shoplifting at the super center earlier this year.
Court documents show Maple pleaded guilty, in Faulkner County Circuit Court, to one misdemeanor count of theft of property Oct. 14, relating to a July 29 incident. The guilty plea resulted in a $227 restitution, and a 14-day suspended jail sentence.
The affidavit states detectives said the police report associated with the shoplifting incident mentioned a gold, 1987 Chevrolet Caprice, which matched reports witnesses gave to police regarding the vehicle they saw Monday’s bank robbery suspect leave in.
Conway police said investigators went to Morrilton on Tuesday to question Maple, but before being able to make contact, Maple led multiple agencies on a vehicle-pursuit, after he was observed by a Morrilton police officer.
The pursuit began in Morrilton and ended in Pottsville, approximately 20 miles away, where Maple was apprehended, the affidavit states.
While being interviewed by Conway investigators, Maple admitted to the robbery, and informed police where officers could find the money and gun, which he threw into a field before being captured, the affidavit states. Following the interview, detectives returned to Pottsville and located the money. Maple was then transported by police to Pottsville to show detectives where he threw the gun, according to the affidavit.
Due to Maple’s limited connections to the area, his Morrilton residency, the police pursuit and prior arrests, the prosecution requested a $250,000 bond, which was approved by Clawson. Conditions of Maple’s release also include an ankle monitor.
During Maple’s arraignment, prosecution stated the defendant had multiple previous arrests in Missouri, which included one felony conviction on a drug charge.
Clawson set Maple’s first pretrial hearing for Jan. 6 before Circuit Judge Mike Maggio, as the case will be tried in the Second Division of Faulkner County Circuit Court.
If convicted of aggravated robbery, a class Y felony, Maple would face 10 to 40 years or life in prison.
According to court documents, the defendant’s 31st birthday was Monday, the same day as the heist.
(Staff writer Lee Hogan can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 505-1246. Follow Lee Hogan on Twitter at twitter.com/LCD_LeeHogan. To comment on this and other stories, log on to thecabin.net.)