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The Journal Gazette

  • Garland

Wednesday, January 10, 2018 1:00 am

Robber says thefts to pay drug debts

JAMIE DUFFY | The Journal Gazette

When the thrift store robber was finally caught, he told police he robbed to pay off his drug dealers.

There was a “price on his head” due to drug debts, he said.

Gregory Garland, 38, of the 2200 block of South Harrison Street, arrived at his targets on his bicycle, according to court documents.

About 10:30 a.m. Thursday at Blue Jacket Inc. on South Calhoun Street, he played a game with the cashier, asking for four quarters for a dollar and then returning to change the dollar for four quarters, court records said. The second time at the cash register, he took the opportunity to rush the cashier, telling her “stay back and no one gets hurt.” That time he got $115.

He left the scene on his bike.

About 11:50 a.m. the next day, he turned up at the St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Store on South Calhoun Street and waited until the cashier there had the cash drawer open. Garland jumped the counter and said, “Just let me get what I want and nobody gets hurt.” Garland got $135 that time, but he also left a “clear latent palm print on the glass counter,” court documents said.

After both robberies, officers followed Garland's bicycle tracks through alleys but lost them in the 2200 block of Calhoun Street in both cases.

On Monday morning, Garland returned to Blue Jacket and was recognized as the same man who had robbed the store Thursday morning. Garland left the store on his bike after he noticed that the cashier he robbed disappeared to call police, court documents said.

Police followed the bicycle tracks again and again lost the track in the 2200 block of Calhoun. But 30 minutes later, Garland reappeared from the back of a house and a chase ensued.

For a half-hour, police chased Garland, who tried to hide between houses, but afteer Garland crossed the 100 block of East Taber Street, there was a chase to a wooden fence that Garland couldn't jump. The officer yelled “Taser!” twice. Garland jumped down from the fence and started to aggressively walk toward the officer disregarding commands to get on the ground, court documents said.

“The defendant had a calm look on his face and a thousand mile stare,” the officer wrote in his report. The officer used a front kick, which knocked Garland back, then discharged his Taser.

Garland was taken into custody where he admitted to the two robberies, court records said.

Would his palm print match the one left on the glass counter at St. Vincent Thrift Shop? “Ya,” Garland replied.

Garland was charged Tuesday with two separate counts of robbery and two misdemeanor charges for resisting law enforcement. He is being held at the Allen County Jail in lieu of $21,500 bail. 

jduffy@jg.net