Four men were behind bars Thursday, suspected in 17 robberies of Fort Worth businesses over a one-month span, police officials said.
Nathaniel Jones, 22; Kevin Davis, 27; and Ashton Parks, 20, all of Fort Worth, were charged this week with robbery in connection with the Jan. 3 holdup of the Subway restaurant at 6316 Meadowbrook Drive.
A fourth suspect, Brian Bernard Jackson, 20, of Everman, was arrested Tuesday in connection with a second robbery. He had not been formally charged in the case as of Thursday.
The robberies began Dec. 2 with the one at the Family Dollar store at 2606 Hemphill Street. In the weeks that followed, police believe the men robbed several other businesses in the city — sometimes two in one day — including GameStop, Metro PCS stores and fast-food restaurants like Subway and Sonic.
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“They were all there for some of the robberies and on others, only two or three would participate,” said robbery Sgt. Joe Loughman.
The robbers displayed at least one handgun during the robberies, though no employees were injured, Loughman said.
The last robbery occurred about 10:20 p.m. on Jan. 3 at the Subway on Meadowbrook.
Shortly afterward, patrol officers tracked three of the suspects to a convenience store at East Berry Street and South Riverside Drive, Loughman said.
The three were detained for questioning, and Jones and Parks were later arrested on suspicion of aggravated robbery. Davis was released but was later arrested on an aggravated robbery warrant Saturday night after additional evidence linking him to the robbery was uncovered by investigators, Loughman said.
Police later identified Jackson as the fourth member of the group. He was arrested Tuesday on an aggravated robbery warrant in connection with the Dec. 30 robbery of the Subway at 3548 South Hills Avenue.
This week, court records show, prosecutors charged Jones, Davis and Parks with robbery — not aggravated robbery — after the two guns seized by police from their car were determined to be BB pistols.
Under the Texas Penal Code, a defendant can be charged with aggravated robbery if they are accused of using a “deadly weapon” during the commission of the offense, including a functioning firearm. The Penal Code defines “firearm” as “any device designed, made, or adapted to expel a projectile through a barrel by using the energy generated by an explosion or burning substance or any device readily convertible to that use.”
“We can’t convict of aggravated robbery if the ‘firearm’ turns out to be a toy or a BB gun,” Assistant District Attorney Kevin Rousseau said.
Jones and Davis were in the Tarrant County Jail Thursday, and Jackson and Parks were in the Mansfield jail Thursday afternoon.