KENDALLVILLE — He was almost done for the day.
In fact, Kendallville Police Department Patrolman Doug Davis only had seven minutes remaining in his shift.
It was 9:53 p.m. Tuesday, and Davis was in the department squad room.
“I was finishing up an unrelated case for the day,” Davis said Thursday.
Then the call came in. The Little Caesars on North Main Street had just been held up at gunpoint. Only 24 hours earlier, the Subway on North Street had been similarly robbed.
“My thought was, ‘You have got to be kidding me,’” Davis said.
Thanks to Davis’ quick thinking, three Fort Wayne residents were eventually arrested. On Thursday morning, Noble County Prosecuting Attorney Jim Mowery released affidavits for probable cause filed in the case.
Jordan Street, 20, has been charged with armed robbery in both the Subway and Little Caesars robberies, theft of a firearm and resisting law enforcement.
Quandeja Whitt, 20, and Antonio Wilson, 21, have been charged with armed robbery in both cases.
How it went down
It was 9:53 p.m. Tuesday, just about shift change, and there were numerous officers at the station. They all hurried to their vehicles when the armed robbery call came in.
When Davis got to his squad car to respond, he saw other officers already driving down Main Street toward the scene.
In an instant, Davis made a decision that ended up leading to the apprehension of the three suspects in the case.
Instead of following the other officers to the scene of the crime, Davis instead tried to think like a criminal and headed west.
He knew other officers were already heading to the scene, and that dispatchers said the suspects had fled the location.
He reasoned that the suspects would likely not go north from Little Caesars since that is a well-traveled route. Heading to the east seemed unlikely. They would head west, he figured, wanting to keep to a dark part of town as they tried to make their escape.
“Over time you realize how criminals think,” Davis said. “Where would I go if I robbed the Little Caesars? What would be the route?”
Davis drove to Orchard Street, then headed north toward Lincoln Street. Davis thought the suspects might use the railroad tracks to flee to their getaway vehicle.
When he got to Lincoln Street, he observed a Chevy Impala stop at the stop sign, then continue south.
“That was the only vehicle moving in that area,” Davis said.
He followed the Impala until it pulled into the drive of a closed business at the northwest corner of Lincoln and William streets. He pulled in behind the vehicle, then illuminated the vehicle with his spotlight.
Whitt emerged from the vehicle and began walking away.
Davis left his police car and called for her to come back toward him. She complied, but then the left rear door of the Impala opened and a man, later identified as Street, fled.
Davis, who had been looking for two men allegedly involved in the robbery, saw another man in the back seat, later identified as Wilson.
He drew his service weapon and held Wilson at gunpoint.
“It became very intense,” Davis said.
Whitt continued to approach him, but Davis told her to move away. He knew from reports that both of the men involved in the robbery had been armed.
“My focus was that male at the scene,” Davis said.
He called for assistance, and Noble County Sheriff’s Department Deputy Cody Conwell was quick to arrive.
As Kendallville Patrolman Blake Kugler arrived and gave chase to the man who was fleeing, Conwell stayed to assist Davis.
Davis said he appreciated Conwell’s quick realization that he needed assistance.
“That guy was thinking,” Davis said of Conwell. “I was very thankful to see him.”
Conwell helped Davis take Wilson in the back seat into custody before joining in the search for the fleeing man. A handgun was located in the back seat of the vehicle near where Wilson had been sitting.
Eventually, Street and Whitt were taken into custody.
Kendallville Police Chief Rob Wiley credited Davis with choosing to follow the Impala.
“It was good work by being observant by Doug,” Wiley said.
He also praised the 12-year patrolman for “thinking outside of the box,” and not simply following the other officers to the scene.
“It’s one of the things that makes experience quite valuable,” Wiley said.
For his part, Davis said he didn’t do anything any other officer wouldn’t have done.
“I was at the right place at the right time,” Davis said. “It was dumb luck. I’m glad it worked out the way it did. I’m glad nobody was injured. Things could have went a lot different.”
Wiley has a different take on good fortune.
“Luck is just being prepared when an opportunity comes along,” Wiley said.