Two Levy County men were jailed Wednesday after being accused of committing strong-armed robberies on elderly victims.
Detective Brad Bartlett of the Marion County Sheriff’s Office’s Major Crimes Unit arrested 19-year-old Robert Joseph Hill III and 30-year-old David Wayne Pritt, both of Williston. Both are facing a litany of charges connected to the crime spree.
Sheriff’s officials say the first robbery took place Wednesday shortly after noon at the Petro gas station in Reddick. The first victim was approached by an unidentified white male who pointed a handgun at her while demanding her purse. The woman initially thought the man was joking and didn’t give him her purse. She then fled back to her vehicle where her husband was pumping gas, a sheriff’s office report states.
The victim’s husband told detectives he heard a commotion and someone demanding a purse. He saw the suspect pointing a gun at his wife, who fled to their vehicle. The suspect then approached him and demanded his wallet, but the man fled instead in an attempt to get his gun, the report says.
The suspect jumped into a waiting minivan and fled from the gas station. Multiple witnesses corroborated the victims’ stories and provided matching descriptions of the suspects. Witnesses on scene also called 911 to report the robbery.
Approximately eight minutes later, a second attempted robbery occurred at the Circle K gas station in Reddick. The victim, a 70-year-old female, was sitting in a vehicle when she was approached by a masked suspect who pointed a handgun at her and demanded money. She told him she didn’t have any money and when he made a second demand, she started honking her horn until he fled in the waiting minivan, the report says.
Security footage from the scene showed a minivan and suspects who matched the descriptions given of both the vehicle and suspects from the first robbery at the Petro gas station.
About 10 minutes later, a third robbery was reported at the Dollar General store in Reddick. Two victims, an 83-year-old female and a 70-year-old female, were leaving the store when they were approached by a white male who pointed a handgun at them and demanded the 83-year-old victim give him her purse. The second victim attempted to intervene and struck the suspect with the bags she was carrying. But the suspect pushed her to the ground, took the woman’s purse, fled on foot to a waiting vehicle and left the scene – but not before leaving a shoe behind, the report says.
While responding to the multiple reported robberies, a sheriff’s deputy spotted the silver minivan fleeing the area at a high rate of speed. He followed the van but before he was able to catch up, it crashed, the report says.
Both suspects, later identified as Hill and Pritt, ran from the crash scene. As Pritt, who was the passenger in the minivan, ran from deputies, he lost his second shoe – a match to the shoe left at the scene of the third robbery, the report says.
Responding deputies pursued Hill on foot and took him into custody following a short pursuit. Pritt was taken into custody by K-9 Cpl. Colton Sullivan and his partner, K-9 Adelmo. Pritt initially refused to comply with commands given by Sullivan and was bitten by the K-9 dog before being taken into custody, according to the report.
Hill was charged with one count of robbery with a firearm, three counts of attempted robbery with a firearm, one count of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon without intent to kill, one count of battery on a person 65 years of age or older, and one count of resisting an officer.
Pritt was charged with one count of robbery with a firearm, three counts of attempted robbery with a firearm, one count of aggravated battery on a person 65 years of age or older, one count of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon without intent to kill and one count of resisting an officer.
Hill was transported to the Marion County Jail, where he was being held on $205,000 bond. He’s due in court June 30 at 9 a.m.
Pritt was being treated an area hospital and will then be transported to the jail. He was in stable condition and is expected to make a full recovery.
Sheriff Billy Woods said he was extremely proud of his deputies and detectives for closing the case so quickly and getting Hill and Pritt off the street.
“These are despicable acts, committed by despicable men who are not welcome in my county, unless it’s behind bars in my jail,” Woods said. “This kind of behavior will not be tolerated in Marion County.”