Sonic employee speaks about Wikert arrest right outside - KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports

Sonic employee speaks about Wikert arrest right outside

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HAWKINS, TX (KLTV) -

Residents of Hawkins are relieved tonight after a manhunt for a bank robbery suspect ended late last night at the Sonic Drive-In there.

Randall Wikert was booked into Wood County Jail Wednesday night. He is suspected of robbing a Bank Texas Branch in Kilgore and pulling a knife on a teller.

Hawkins residents know his face. Patricia Swann, an assistant manager at Sonic, said, "we recognized him."

She said they recognized him from watching KLTV last night.

"I know some of the coworkers...or one of the coworkers...was watching him, and they said it got a little crazy up here," she said of the moment police arrested Wikert.

Patricia was taking a break and sitting at a picnic table behind Sonic around 9:30 last night. She saw police with flashlights searching the nearby wooded area. That's when Swann said she headed inside with the other employees and locked the doors.

A neighbor nearby, Donnie Bradley, did the opposite. "Somebody said there was like a $1000 reward for him so I actually went out and started looking."

With young sisters in the house, Bradley decided to help protect them, but the police asked him to go inside. He did, and locked the door behind him.

"I believe you were speaking with them last night," he said about KLTV. He said when he arrived home, KLTV's report kept the family calm.

"My little sisters were afraid to go to sleep; they didn't want to be near any windows or anything like that," he said.

By 10:15 p.m. state troopers had Wikert in custody at that Sonic, just minutes after Swann said coworkers locked themselves inside.

Kilgore police say many of their original news tips began coming in just after our first broadcast about Wikert. Law enforcement says they relied heavily on the public's tips for this arrest.

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