KENDALLVILLE — Three people have been arrested for robbery after allegedly holding up Kendallville’s Little Caesars restaurant Tuesday, which sparked a late-night manhunt for the suspects.
Jordan M. Street, 20, of Fort Wayne; Quandeja D. Whitt, 20, of Fort Wayne; and Antonio D. Wilson, 21, of Fort Wayne were all booked into the Noble County Jail on preliminary charges of robbery, a Level 5 felony.
Wednesday, those preliminary charges were amended.
Street was preliminarily charged with robbery, resisting law enforcement and theft. Wilson’s preliminary charges are robbery and possession of a handgun without a permit. Whitt’s charges are robbery and assisting a criminal.
The Kendallville Police Department was contacted about a robbery at the pizza place at 9:53 p.m., according to a news release.
While responding to the robbery, Kendallville Police Department Patrolman Doug Davis observed a burgundy-colored Chevrolet Impala near the intersection of West William and Lincoln streets, two blocks from the location of the robbery.
Davis followed the vehicle until it pulled off the road and stopped near the intersection of Rush and Lincoln streets.
A woman exited the vehicle and began to walk away from the vehicle. Davis made contact with the woman, later identified as Whitt. At that time, he also noticed two men in the rear seat of the vehicle.
One of the men — eventually identified as Street — fled the vehicle, while Davis detained the other, later identified as Wilson.
Davis observed a handgun and mask on the rear seat of the Impala.
The two males matched the description of the two men involved in the robbery.
While Davis detained Wilson, Whitt left the scene. She was later located in the 200 block of West Mitchell Street by Kendallville officers and taken into custody.
During the search for Street, a mo-ped was allegedly taken from the same area by a man matching Street’s description. The mo-ped was later found on the city’s west side.
Officers from the Noble County Sheriff’s Department, Avilla Police Department and Ligonier Police Department assisted in the search with K-9 units and the Ligonier PD’s drone.
Kendallville Police Department Sgt. Nate Stahl coordinated the search.
At 10:41 p.m., police issued a text alert to the community that officers were “actively on a man hunt” in the area west of Lincoln Street to S.R. 3 between Drake Road and the railroad tracks.
At approximately 11:30 p.m., a citizen reported a man matching Street’s description in the area of Silver and State streets. The caller told police the man had been running to the south.
Kendallville Patrolman Matt Gillison located Street near the intersection of Vine and State streets and held him at gunpoint. A handgun was located on Street.
“The public input was really important, as it is a lot of times,” Kendallville Police Chief Rob Wiley said.
As of 11:51 p.m., officers issued a second alert that the sweep had been concluded and all the suspects were arrested.
The timing of the robbery worked to the benefit of police. Second-shift officers were just about to go off duty, while third-shift officers were just reporting in for work.
“This happened at shift change… which effectively doubles the manpower you’ve got,” Wiley said.
The robbery comes one day after a robbery at Kendallville’s Subway restaurant at about 9:45 p.m. Monday. Police said two black men entered the Subway with firearms, demanded money then fled on foot. The suspects escaped before police arrived.
It’s not clear whether the two restaurant robberies are connected, but Wiley said his department is pursuing that possibility.
“We are certainly looking at this to determine of they are the responsible people” for both robberies, Wiley said.
Wiley said the circumstances of Monday’s and Tuesday’s robberies were “very similar.”
The Fort Wayne Police Department is investigating approximately a dozen such robberies that seem to match what has occurred in Kendallville, Wiley said. Similar robberies have also been reported in New Haven, Bluffton and Decatur in recent months.
According to Wiley, prior to this week’s incidents, the last armed robbery in the city had occurred in September 2015.