Suspect arrested after series of robberies targeting Indy gas stations, convenience stores

Crime

INDIANAPOLIS – Indianapolis Metropolitan police say a man targeted gas stations and convenience stores in the Indianapolis area from June through August in a series of robberies.

The IMPD Covert Robbery Unit arrested 51-year-old Damon Smithson early Thursday. The robberies were concentrated on the north and northwest sides of the city.

IMPD officers stopped Smithson’s car at the I-465 and Pendleton Pike off-ramp. They obtained a search warrant and discovered evidence linking him to a robbery that night.

Officers then obtained a search warrant for Smithson’s home and found additional evidence linking him to the following robberies:

  • Speedway Gas, 8202 N. Allisonville Rd., 06/06/20
  • Speedway Gas, 8202 N. Allisonville Rd., 07/07/20
  • Speedway Gas, 8202 N. Allisonville Rd., 07/11/20
  • Circle K Gas, 5659 N. Michigan Rd., 07/14/20
  • Speedway Gas, 5555 W. 86th St., 07/16/20
  • Speedway Gas, 5415 E. 65th St., 07/19/20
  • Village Pantry, 1415 W. 86th St., 07/20/20
  • Ofelia Bakery, 7880 N. Michigan Rd., 07/26/20
  • Speedway Gas, 5415 E. 65th St., 08/04/20

The first three robberies happened at the same Speedway location and followed the same pattern: a man in a knit hat or ballcap approached the register, implied he had a weapon and demanded money. The man also wore a black mask.

Later robberies followed a similar pattern, according to investigators, with a Black male matching roughly the same description approaching a clerk in the late night or early morning hours and demanding money from the register.

In many of the later cases, the robber wore a light blue surgical mask.

Officers were in the area when someone robbed the Thornton’s gas station at 4015 E. 82nd St. around 12:35 a.m. on Aug. 6. They spotted a car matching one that left the scene; Smithson was the driver.

Officers saw U.S. currency in the driver’s seat of Smithson’s vehicle and said some of the money fell out when he got out of the vehicle. Police also saw a light blue surgical mask, a cell phone and a black baseball cap.

Smitson was in possession of a small screwdriver; police said the suspect in the Aug. 4 robbery at the Speedway on 5415 E. 65th St. showed the clerk a small screwdriver after demanding cash from the register.

During a search of Smithson’s home, police located clothing that matched clothing seen on surveillance cameras and described by witnesses during the prior robberies.

Police arrested Smithson on preliminary charges of robbery. The Marion County Prosecutor’s Office will make the final charging decision.

Anyone with information should contact the IMPD Aggravated Assault Office at 317.327.3475 or Crime Stoppers of Central Indiana at 317.262.8477 or (TIPS).

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