Tip pans out; suspects being grilled in restaurant robbery after Somerset police dog toasts their get-away plans
by Chris Harris Commonwealth Journal
Two armed robbers tried to get away from one all-night waffle joint with some ill-gotten dough, according to police ... but found law enforcement hot on their trail.
Randy Combs, 35, of Jackson, Ky., and Larry Sword, 29, of Clayhole, Ky., were both arrested and charged with first-degree robbery, a Class D felony.
According to Lt. Shannon Smith of the Somerset Police Department (SPD), a report of a robbery came in shortly after 4:30 a.m. Wednesday morning at the Waffle King restaurant located on South U.S. 27.
An employee reported that two men entered the restaurant and held it up — one armed with a gun, the other with a knife, demanding money. Officers who responded to the scene also learned that the suspects fled into an adjoining field in the direction of Monticello Street, behind the restaurant.
Smith said that there was one customer in the diner at the time of the incident, and nobody was hurt. He also said that employees followed advised procedure in this type of scenario.
“They complied and that’s our recommendation,” said Smith. “In (this kind of) situation ... we would rather the employees or customers be a good, solid witness to what has taken place who can point us in the right direction or give us a good physical description than for them to have become a casualty.”
Smith said that SPD Officer Joe Criswell used Aras, a police K-9 unit, to track one of the suspects to an area behind Office Depot. Combs was found there hiding in some bushes, and was arrested. Sword was hiding nearby and fled when officers closed in on Combs, said Smith.
The K-9 was then used to track down Sword. Both men were taken into custody without further incident; Smith said that neither man was bitten by the dog.
“Under the circumstances, the suspects were giving up and cooperating with officers; the dogs are trained to track and find someone, not track and bite someone. That’s a testament to the handler and the dog’s training,” said Smith. “I would put Aras’ capability as a patrol dog up against anybody’s dog. I think this is the product of continuing training and level of professionalism we hold for our department and our specialized unit.”
As for what the out-of-town individuals were doing in Somerset, Smith said it’s believed one of them lived here or had family here, and that they were apparently just looking for cash.
The knife and gun — which turned out to be a BB gun, albeit one that looked a lot like a regular pistol, according to Smith — were recovered a short distance away from where the suspects were located.
Combs was served with two outstanding Breathitt County warrants; one for failure to appear in court, and an Indictment for second-degree burglary and theft. Sword was also served with a Breathitt County Indictment for flagrant non-support, Criminal Mischief, and Theft; along with a bench warrant for failure to pay fines.
Smith said police are also looking for two additional people who may be on their way back to Breathitt County, who are believed to have helped provide transportation for the suspects.
Regarding the speed with which police located the suspects, Smith noted that his agency had the city “divided into near-equal sectors,” which “significantly helps response time ... There’s one officer pretty close to every part of the city, normally.”