An Ellijay man faces charges of robbery by intimidation, theft, fraud and forgery following multiple incidents in Gainesville, Oakwood and Gwinnett County.
Walter Ray Kirk III, 41, is accused of stealing cash from an Oakwood restaurant earlier this month, and with going on a shopping spree with identification stolen in January, among other charges.
Oakwood Police responded to a reported robbery at Firehouse Subs on Mundy Mill Road just before 10 p.m. Feb. 7.
Witnesses at the sub shop reported a man sitting and talking on his phone for about an hour before he tried to move to the back of the store, according to an incident report.
An employee told police the man came up to her while she was in the back counting money and told her he was there to rob them, according to the incident report. The employee also said the man “told her a story about how he was at the end of his rope” but he wasn’t going to hurt anyone.
The employee in the back handed over more than $700 and the man walked out, according to the incident report.
Oakwood Police, Hall County Sheriff’s Office, Georgia State Patrol and University of North Georgia officers searched for the suspect as the man’s cellphone was tracked in the area.
An Oakwood investigator determined the suspect may be staying at the Best Western Plus hotel. A clerk reported the occupants of that room had stolen the television and checked out.
After several hours of investigation, Kirk was found at the Jameson Inn using another name, according to the incident report.
“Myself and several other units responded to the room and took Mr. Kirk into custody,” an officer wrote in the incident report. “He matched the exact description given and was located with the hoodie and shoes seen in the video from Firehouse Subs.”
The incident report state Kirk admitted to the crime and led police to a spot by the University of North Georgia campus where he had been hiding during their search. Police located a backpack matching witnesses’ descriptions and two notes that stated “put the money in the bag” and “I have a gun,” according to the incident report.
Kirk was arrested and Oakwood police report he also had warrants from Hall and Gwinnett counties for burglary. Kirk is also charged with possession of methamphetamine and identity theft.
Gainesville Police also were led to Kirk after investigating a report of a woman whose purse was stolen out of her shopping cart Jan. 22 at the Wal-Mart on Shallowford Road in Gainesville, according to an incident report.
Police believe Kirk used her information at multiple stores in the area, including two in Gainesville, spending hundreds of dollars at each location, Cpl. Kevin Holbrook said.
Oakwood Police Investigator Danny Sridej said Kirk had multiple identifications, including the one of the woman involved in the Gainesville case.
Gainesville investigators were able to use Wal-Mart surveillance video to observe the suspect. Investigators working a stolen vehicle case later found the same type of clothing in a truck and tied the cases together.
Kirk has a history of similar charges, according to Hall County records.