INDIANAPOLIS (April 15, 2015) – An undercover investigation led to the arrest of a man suspected in a series of robberies in Indianapolis and the surrounding area.
On Monday, investigators with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department and FBI Violent Crimes Task Force were trailing the man when they saw him approach two employees at Advanced Auto Parts in the 2900 block of Kentucky Avenue. The man and two employees went back into the business, where investigators saw the suspect hold out his arm as if holding a gun. He then stepped behind the counter where employees would stand and left the business.
Investigators approached the suspect—identified as Jeffery Wilson Jr., 32—and took him into custody. They recovered a handgun and some cash. During questioning at IMPD headquarters, Wilson admitted to the robbery and was preliminarily charged with robbery and two counts of criminal confinement.
"It's a good thing that he's off the streets, yes, absolutely," Advance Auto Parts Manager Geoff Garland said.
Garland never expected to get a call that the store had been robbed at gunpoint, much less by a man police had been watching. He got the full story from a fellow manager who was one of those robbed.
"The guy came in with a gun, pointed it at them, made them open the safe and then forced them in the bathroom," Garland.
Police said Wilson is suspected of carrying out 24 robberies in 10 central Indiana communities dating back to 2013, hitting targets like GameStop, Cash America, EZ Pawn and Check Into Cash.
"A lot of the robberies he committed, he was masked. That made it difficult," IMPD Ofc. Rafael Diaz said.
Masked and on camera, though. In addition to 11 hits in Indianapolis, he was caught on surveillance video robbing a Check and Go in Kokomo, then one in Anderson two weeks later. The next week, he's seen in Columbus, where he'd been once before, and Lafayette caught him on tape, too.
Police believed Wilson is the man behind all of those surveillance photos. FOX59 learned that it was a tip to Central Indiana CrimeStoppers that led detectives to follow him and wait.
"It truly is like a puzzle, having to comb through all these different investigations," Diaz said.
A puzzle Garland wished didn't end in the robbery of his employees, but he was glad to see detectives get their man.
"It’s just good that they got this guy. ... He didn’t shoot at anybody but who’s to say that the next person he wouldn’t have shot at?" Garland said.
Investigators are working with other agencies to piece together the many robberies and Wilson is likely to eventually face federal charges.