Columbus police have charged the suspects accused of using a toy assault rifle to rob the adult novelty store Starship Enterprises with nine business armed robberies or robbery attempts reported since April 2013.
Detectives said common threads of evidence led them to charge Lakendrick Demond Davis, 33; Kenneth Watts, 22; and Brandon James Nickerson, 22, with multiple business robberies in which the robbers descriptions and method of operation were the same.
Witnesses described black men dressed in all black, carrying an assault rifle and a handgun, and traveling in a silver sedan. Police said they caught the suspects in a silver 2009 Toyota Corolla with robbery loot, a toy M-16 and a BB pistol.
Detectives charged the three men with 29 offenses related to these robberies or robbery attempts:
Armed robbery on April 20 at the Circle K, 1715 S. Lumpkin Road;
Armed robbery on May 27 at the Circle K, 3274 Victory Drive;
Criminal attempt armed robbery on May 27 at the Circle K, 2102 Wynnton Road;
Armed robbery on June 9 at the Circle K, 2233 Fort Benning Road;
Armed robbery on June 24 at the Lucky Food Mart, 2026 Floyd Road;
Armed robbery on July 11 at Starship Enterprises, 4402 Veterans Parkway;
Armed robbery and aggravated assault on July 15 at Starship Enterprises, 4402 Veterans Parkway;
Armed robbery on July 15 at the Circle K, 3720 Macon Road;
Armed robbery Wednesday at the Money Back, 7890 Veterans Parkway.
Here's today's earlier report:
Three men accused of robbing Starship Enterprises twice faced several counts of armed robbery during a Recorder's Court hearing Friday morning.
LaKendrick Davis, 33, faced ten counts of armed robbery and one count of criminal attempt to commit armed robbery during the 9 a.m. hearing.
Brandon Nickerson, 22, faced seven counts of armed robbery and one count of criminal attempt to commit armed robbery.
Kenneth Watts, 22, faced nine counts of armed robbery, one count of aggravated assault and one count of criminal attempt to commit armed robbery.
All three men's cases were heard by Judge Michael Cielinski.
A Columbus Police detective told the court that the three men were arrested just after midnight Thursday while police were investigating an armed robbery at Summit Food Store on the 7800 block of Veterans Parkway.
Summit Food employees told police that at about 11:40 p.m. Wednesday a man dressed in all black entered the store with what appeared to be a black pistol and demanded $129.37. The man took the money in a CB&T bag and fled to the parking lot, where he left in a silver Toyota.
Police searched for the vehicle and found one matching the description on the 6200 block of Flatrock Road. When the officer approached the vehicle to speak with the driver, he saw what appeared to be an assault rifle in plain view in the passenger floorboard.
After the officer searched the vehicle, he discovered the M-16 look-a-like was a toy gun. He also found a black BB gun in the glove compartment which matched the store employee's description. Store employees later positively identified Davis as the man who entered the store.
When questioning Davis, Watts and Nickerson about the robbery, Davis told police that police the three men were involved in several prior burglaries.
Davis said the chain of robberies started on April 20, when he robbed a Circle K on South Lumpkin Road without the aid of Watts or Nickerson. An estimated $300 was stolen during that robbery.
On May 27, Davis robbed a Circle K on Victory Drive while Watts and Nickerson waited in the car to aid escape. About $300 was also taken in that robbery.
That same night, Davis attempted to rob a Circle K on Wynnton Road. However, when he entered the store sporting the fake assault rifle, no one was at the counter. Police later discovered the employee was in the back room when Davis entered for an undisclosed reason. Davis, Watts and Nickerson fled before police could reach the scene.
The group robbed another Circle K on Fort Benning Road on June 9. Watts, however, took the lead during this robbery. He took $50.86 and fled with the others.
On June 24, the group robbed another Circle K on Floyd Road. During that robbery, Davis took $700 from the store and $200 from the clerk.
At the beginning of July, the three men began a series of two robberies at Starship Enterprises. One was carried out on July 11, during which $300 was taken from the store. Davis also took $180 and a cellphone from a customer. On July 15, the group took almost $300 from Starship, during which Watts allegedly hit an employee in the mouth, knocking out several teeth.
Although police said Davis, Watts and Nickerson admitted to the robberies while in questioning, all three pleaded no guilty during the hearing.
Cielinski set no bond for all armed robberies. Davis and Nickerson were given a $50,000 bond each for their charge of criminal attempt to commit armed robbery. Watts was given a $75,000 bond for his charges of aggravated assault and criminal attempt to commit armed robbery.