During a string of October and November robberies, in which three alleged suspects used an inert training weapon, suspected cohort Joshua Hooks reportedly waited in the car.
But his alleged provision of the M-16 look-a-like, and his subsequent compensation, led to arrest warrants for his involvement, according to court testimony.
Hooks, 22, faced five counts of armed robbery and four counts of possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime in a Recorder's Court hearing Friday. His alleged cohorts Laquante K. Harviley, Dewon Obyrane Neal and Timothy Gardner faced a hearing Dec. 6.
Det. Murray Gunderson told the court that police were able to release warrants for Hooks after his suspected companions told police that a fourth man with the street name of "Little Josh" fronted the training weapon for their use in the robberies.
They also alleged that he was directly involved in four of the ten robberies the men were originally charged with those of the Francis Street Bargain Town, Miller Road and Manchester Expressway Circle Ks and a Buena Vista Road Family Dollar.
Prior to those conversations, investigators executed search warrants on several homes thought to be occupied by the robbery suspects. At a Cromwell Drive address, they found clothes allegedly belonging to Hooks. The training weapon, sometimes referred to as a "rubber ducky," was also found at the house.
After he was arrested Wednesday at 10:30 p.m., near the intersection of Illges Road and Ace Way, Hooks allegedly told police that he never went inside the robbed businesses. He reportedly admitted to providing the M-16 look-a-like, and said he was compensated with stolen items and cash.
During Harviley, Neal and Gardner's hearing, Sgt. Lance Deaton told the court that the men were seeking money and Newport cigarettes in each of the robberies, which investigators found in abundance in the other searched homes.
"I want to emphasize to the court that the M.O. in these cases are all the same," Deaton said. "The clothing descriptions are consistent and the physical descriptions are consistent for all of these individuals."
Judge Michael Cielinski set no bond for Hooks' armed robbery charges during Friday's hearing. He was given a $100,000 bond for the firearm charges.