A 30-year-old Conway man was arrested Thursday evening in connection to two robbery investigations.
Conway Police Department spokesman LaTresha Woodruff said 30-year-old Donald Ray Best Jr. was picked up Thursday evening by the U.S. Marshals Service and Conway police in connection to an attempted robbery at the J-Square Exxon gas station and a robbery that was reported at a local Walgreens earlier this month.
According to court documents, police were first notified shortly after 1:30 a.m. April 6 of an attempted robbery at the J-Square Exxon on Dave Ward Drive.
An employee reportedly told authorities that a black man “with a small pencil [thin] mustache wearing a bluish grey hoodie” came into the store, “laid a candy bar on the counter, demanded that she open the register and give him the money,” noting the man was “a young male” that was approximately 5 foot and 3 inches tall.
“You are joking, there are cameras everywhere,” the employee reportedly said to the suspect.
According to the woman’s statement, the suspect said he did “not care about the cameras and that there [was also] three guys outside.” The man allegedly handed her a note on a piece of paper “that looked like a cookie sleeve from Subway” that told her to hand over “all the money.” However, when she again refused, the man left the scene in what the woman described to police as a grey, four-dour car.
Shortly afterward, Conway police were called out to a similar incident at the Walgreens on Oak Street.
According to an incident report, authorities were called out shortly before 2 a.m. in reference to a man who laid a bag of Skittles on the counter before grabbing money out of the cash register at the store.
A store employee said the suspect acted as if he were about to pay for the candy but “leaned over the counter and started to grab money” before fleeing the store Friday, making off with more than $100.
The woman described the suspect as a black male wearing “a light blue or grey Old Chicago Beer Tour hoodie with grey sweat pants.”
After counting the money left in the drawer, store employees determined Walgreens was short $118.03 because of the reported robbery.
After reviewing security footage, police learned the suspect arrived at the store with another man in a silver, four-door car.
Court documents state authorities caught up with the suspect vehicle later that night but that the suspect was no longer in the vehicle. The suspected robber's accomplice, 54-year-old Lee Alvin Bonner of Conway, was arrested during the traffic stop.
Bonner told authorities he dropped off "Bubba," later identified as Best, at the Gold Lakes subdivision.
According to Bonner's statement, Best told him to drop him off in the subdivision so that he could "dump the clothes" he was wearing before going home. Despite heavy rains, authorities searched the nearby area but were unable to find the clothes worn by the suspect during the aforementioned robberies.
Bonner told authorities he was with Best the night of the alleged robberies because Best had asked him for a ride "to go get money from an ATM." He further said he drove to Best's apartment, located in the 200 block of Highway 365, with two other friends but that the other two individuals stayed at Best's apartment as they left for the ATM. According to his statement, the two attempted to get money off Best's debit card at the J-Square Exxon and Satterfield's gas stations before heading over to Walgreens.
"Bonner drove [Best] to J-Square Exxon and Satterfield's gas stations, but could not get any money from the ATM or cash back on his debit card," the probable cause affidavit reads in part. "Bonner suggested ttrying to get cash back at Walgreens, so they went to Walgreens. Bubba came back out with money and a bag of Skittles and they left to go get drugs. After using the drugs, Bubba started acting odd, taking off his outer clothing. He took off his hoodie, sweatshirt and athletic pants and threw them out the window near Tokusen."
Online records show Bonner is currently being held in the county jail in lieu of a $2,360 bond on suspicion of possessing drug paraphernalia, possession of a controlled substance, driving on a suspended license and failing to stop at a railroad crossing. He is scheduled to appear at 8:30 a.m. May 14 in district court for a plea and arraignment hearing.
Best is currently being held without bond in the county jail and is set to appear at 9 a.m. April 23 in Faulkner County Circuit Court for a plea and arraignment hearing. He faces two felonies, robbery and attempted robbery, as well as one misdemeanor charge, theft of property, following the aforementioned incident.