Used car dealer accused of 7 robberies, suspected of 7 more

Used car dealer accused of 7 robberies, suspected of 7 more

A bank and 13 other businesses were robbed over 11 months.

And Texarkana, Ark., police say the holdups did not stop until their prime suspect - a used car dealer - asked an officer who was staking out a liquor store why he was sitting near his car lot.

The robberies began with the one in February at the BancorpSouth branch in the 2200 block of North State Line Avenue.

Someone used something to keep a door from closing. He then held the clerks at gunpoint and took what money he could, police say.

That robbery spurred a nearly yearlong investigation that now has the used car dealer accused of robbing that bank and six other Texarkana, Ark., businesses.

And 65-year-old Troy Lee Ware, of Texarkana, Ark., is a suspect in another seven robberies in the Texarkana area, authorities say.

Online records show he remains in the Miller County Jail, where he has been booked on seven counts of aggravated robbery.

In addition to the BancorpSouth branch, Ware is suspected of robbing:

  • Fast and Low in the 400 block of East Street on April 24;
  • Exxon in the 2300 block of North State Line Avenue on June 9;
  • Family Dollar in the 1200 block of East 9th Street on Oct. 24;
  • Texas Liquor in the 900 block of North State Line Avenue on Oct. 26;
  • the same Fast and Low in the 400 block of East Street on Dec. 9; and,
  • Bottle Shop in the 1200 block of 1224 North State Line Avenue on Dec. 12.

On Wednesday, Ware hid inside his house the 500 block of Orleans Street and refused to answer the door when police came armed with an arrest warrant. Authorities forced their way in.

Detectives also reportedly found a gun, gloves, other clothing and a hidden mask at Ware's business.

The gun looks like the one investigators saw on surveillance video from some of the businesses that were robbed, authorities said.

And the garments were like those worn by the person involved in multiple robberies, they said.

After the bank holdup, 13 more robberies were committed in similar fashion over 11 months throughout Texarkana.

During one holdup, police said, the robber fired a gun into the business and toward a store clerk when the employee failed to cooperate to the gunman's satisfaction.

At a cost of about $12,500 to the city, 36 detectives and officers spent more than 320 hours staking out businesses that a robber likely would target.

During one stakeout in December, an officer was sitting near Ware's business and watching a nearby liquor store.

"... Ware approached him to inquire of his presence. No further robberies were committed following this interaction," says a statement from police.

Detectives' investigation also involved watching many hours of surveillance camera video.

That video led them to think the robber had access to several different types of cars.

At one point, two detectives met with Ware at his used car lot at North State Line Avenue at East 9th Street.

They "made several observations of note while there" and later learned that Ware previously was involved in four aggravated robberies in California along with several other felonies in the 1970s through 1990s.
Detectives say a review of Ware's cellphone records also "revealed consistencies related to the date and times of each one of the 14 robberies."

Texarkana, Texas, police assisted with the investigation.

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