A Little Rock man has pleaded not guilty to robbing several local businesses over the weekend.
John Tillman, 44, is being held on $250,000 bond. He'll be back in court in March.
Original story (January 21):
Little Rock Police arrest a man they believe is responsible for a rash of robberies on Saturday and prior robberies and thefts across the city.
John Wesley Tillman, 44, is accused of robbing four convenience stores on Saturday in less than 20 hours. According to police, the robberies were most likely a method to fund a drug habit.
"Every morning when I come in, I'm wondering what is going to happen now," she said from behind the counter at Mapco Express.
Manager Demetria Langston keeps stock of the store on West 65th, and on Saturday Langston got the call her employee had been robbed behind the register.
"She was crying on the phone. She was pretty shaken up and was like -- I just got robbed ," Langston said. "All you do is come in to work thinking it's a normal day and then boom."
Armed with a kitchen knife, the robber is seen on surveillance taking money from the register, attempting to crack the safe.
"I know times hard for everybody but it's still, you can still make a way," Langston said. "You don't have to rob and hurt somebody for some money. Go out and get a job like the rest of us."
Descriptions from the employee, her customer at the counter, and the video all helped lead police to make an arrest at an Exxon Station on Colonel Glenn road Monday afternoon.
Police believe he robbed four stores in 20 hours on Saturday.
"In each case, the robber used a kitchen knife to rob the businesses. On Saturday, he is believed to have robbed the Shell Super Stop on Colonel Glenn Road, the Mapco on West 65th Street, the Shell station in the 4000 block of South University, and the Valero in the 6000 block of South University," Sgt. Cassandra Davis said.
He's also believed to be connected to three additional robberies and three thefts as well.
"I don't know that there's anything you can do to prevent this type of crime from happening," said Sgt. Cassandra Davis with Little Rock Police Department. "But we tell people, whether you're a customer or an employee, don't get involved. Don't try to physically intervene. Cooperate, but take note of what the suspect looks like, what they're getaway vehicle is, which direction they're heading. Be a good witness."
The robbery at Mapco Express happened just after it had opened its doors to the store, instead of having customers use a security window for transactions.
But in light of this robbery, they're delaying opening their doors for another hour, to keep employees safe.
"We had one before Christmas and then this one," Langston said. "It's just crazy. I tell my employees to be aware of their surroundings. After the first robbery, they wanted to just keep the doors locked, because it's scary."
While this crime marks the second time her employees have been hit, Langston's encouraging them not to give up.
"I tell em all the time, hold on it's going to get better," she said. "And we continue to do what we have to do. We come to work to feed our kids, and we want to make sure we make it home."
While robbers can take their cash, Langston won't let fear shut down their store or force them to sell out on hope.
According to police, Tillman was arrested on seven counts of Robbery, six counts of theft of property, three additional misdemeanor charges of theft and one count of possession of a controlled substance. In all, police believe Tillman is connected to 10 robberies and "till tappings" over the past four days.