The man who attempted to empty the cash registers of a Lake Wales McDonald’s diner was taken into custody by Lake County officers is currently being detained at his girlfriend’s apartment. The suspect invoked his right to refrain from making statements regarding his deed.
According to the Lake Wales’ Police Department, the events that led to the arrest of Willie Watson III, the man who attempted to rob a McDonald’s diner began on Sunday morning. A 911 call was initiated by one of the employees working at the restaurant.
According to eyewitness accounts, at around 8:35 am, the man entered the diner, drew out his gun, and fired one shot towards the ceiling. After firing the shot, Watson instructed the people inside the diner not to move and informed them that he wanted to rob the restaurant.
It would seem that diner’s clients, two people who were eating at a table, complied with Watson’s orders, but a couple of McDonald’s employees fled the scene. Instead of firing another shot, Watson went straight towards the cash registers, in an attempt to empty their contents. However, the cash registers were secured in advanced, and the thief was not able to open them.
Seeing that his attempts of robbing the McDonald’s restaurant were futile, the suspect fled the scene before the police arrived. According to police affidavits, when the officers arrive at the scene, the restaurant’s employees were able to provide them with an accurate description of the suspect, as well as the van he used to stage his escape.
Court documents reveal that the suspect escaped using a 2005 Chrysler Town and Country minivan which was blue. Several hours later, a police car managed to stop a van fitting that description on First Street.
The van was driven by Latasha Johnson, who is also the owner of the car. After being stopped by the police and questioned regarding the whereabouts of the suspect, the woman admitted that Watson is her boyfriend and that he borrowed her van in the morning to go for a ride.
The officers shortly arrived at the woman’s apartment where they found Willie Watson III. The man was taken into custody and later transferred to Polk County Jail where he now awaits his trial. Willie Watson III is charged with discharge of a firearm in public space, possession of live ammo by an ex-convict, armed robbery, and the possession of a firearm by an ex-convict.
Image source: Geograph