MANHATTAN, Kan. (WIBW) -- Riley County police have arrested two men they’ve identified as accomplices in an armed robbery at a Manhattan Wendy’s but their search for the gunman at the center of the holdup continues.
On Sunday, April 22, 2012 at 11:43 PM, the Riley County Police Department responded to the Wendy's at 3006 Anderson Avenue for a report of an armed robbery after three employees were robbed at gunpoint.
RCPD spokesman Lieutenant Josh Kyle told WIBW on Monday: "On scene investigation revealed that a black male dressed in dark clothing, including a mask, robbed restaurant employees with a handgun and then fled on foot. An estimated $2,000 in currency was taken from the business."
Police say once the suspect got the money, he ran out the back door, jumped over a retaining wall and got into a getaway car. Officers saw an SUV turning off of the street directly behind the Wendy’s and tried to pull it over but the driver refused to stop and a chase ensued down several streets.
According to officials, in the 2900 block of Dickens Avenue, the car slowed down and a man fitting the description of the armed robber jumped out of the passenger side and ran off. One officer continued to follow the SUV while other responding officers started searching the area for the passenger.
The SUV finally pulled into an apartment complex in the 1500 block of College Avenue and the driver, who police identified as 23-year-old Richard Lawrence II from Manhattan, bailed out and was captured. Lawrence was charged with Aggravated Robbery, Fleeing and Attempting to Elude a Police Officer, Obstruction of the Legal Process and Reckless Driving. He is being held in the Riley County Jail on $55,000 bond.
On Wednesday, the Riley County Police Department identified the suspected armed robber for the first time as Richard Lawrence's younger brother, 20-year-old Steven Lawrence. He is still at large.
Riley County police officers also arrested and charged 28-year-old Gilbert Blizzard from Manhattan with Obstruction in connection with the holdup. Officials say Blizzard later picked Steven Lawrence up and took him to an unknown location in order to help him get away from authorities. Blizzard was released on $3,000 bond.
The search for Steven Lawrence continues and he is considered armed and dangerous. The only description released by the Riley County Police Department is that Lawrence is a black male, 5'7" and 150 lbs.
Police are also working to determine if the incident at Wendy’s is connected to another armed robbery earlier this month that took place at the McDonald’s a few doors down.
On Wednesday, April 4, 2012, at 11:45 PM, police say a man holding a pistol robbed the McDonald's on Westloop Place off of Anderson Avenue.
The night manager and his employees were closing the McDonald’s when a black male wearing black pants, black hoodie and black shoes entered the store with a black handgun. The suspect was wearing a black ski mask beneath the hoodie.
According to officials, the armed, masked man demanded money and ordered the manager into the office. Once he had rolled coins and money, he left the restaurant and was seen by a passerby walking along the sidewalk in front of the new Dillons grocery store in the Westloop Shopping Center. He then ran across Claflin Avenue to nearby apartments.
The suspect is described as 6', dark skinned with a thin build.
Surveillance footage is not being released from the hold ups.
No one was injured during the robberies and no gun shots were fired.
The Riley County Police Department does not release booking photos of inmates at the Riley County Jail so mugshots of Lawrence and Blizzard are not available.
Anonymous tips can be left with the Manhattan/Riley County Crime Stoppers at 785-537-7777 or toll free at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477). Or you can visit the Crime Stoppers website for other options: www.manhattanrileycountycrimestoppers.com.