Three men were indicted Tuesday in a case that broke when a Lexington store clerk shot a would-be robber.
Darnell Leon Thomas Jr., 30; Edward Earl Hale Jr.; and Thomas Eugene Riley all face charges in a string of 14 stickups at gas stations, restaurants, hotels, and grocery stores, from Jan. 23 to Feb. 27, according to the indictment.
Thomas was arrested and charged after Zara Adil, 21, a store clerk at Tobacco Zone, 873 North Broadway, shot Thomas in the shoulder Feb. 27. The two were fighting over his gun as Thomas tried to rob the store with another man, police said.
According to court documents, police discovered that Thomas was responsible for the robbery after they found a cellphone at the Tobacco Zone. Detectives cross-referenced the number of the cellphone and contacted an acquaintance of Thomas' with whom Thomas had spoken around the time the Tobacco Zone robbery occurred. The acquaintance told police the phone belonged to Thomas, and that it was one of four numbers and cellphones Thomas had used in January and February, the documents said.
Never miss a local story.
Thomas and Riley are responsible for the first of the 14 robberies, at a Waffle House on North Broadway, according to the indictment.
Hale is charged with nine counts of first-degree robbery. Riley is charged with one count of first-degree robbery, being a convicted felon in possession of a handgun and being a persistent felony offender. A warrant has been issued for Hale and Riley, the documents said.
Thomas was being held in the Fayette County jail on a $140,000 full cash bond. He's scheduled to be arraigned May 14.