INDIANAPOLIS - Three men accused of robbing a pair of stores and then leading police on a high-speed chase on Indianapolis' east side Tuesday are now facing formal charges.
All three suspects – Amparis Thomas, 20, Vangelo Jenkins, 29, and Joshua Elliott, 23 – were on the way to see their probation officers, police said. IMPD officials say the robberies were spurred by one of the men who needed money to pay his probation fees.
Police say the men began at the Discount Tobacco located at 5502 Brookville Road. A surveillance video from the store shows one of the suspects brandishing a silver handgun and demanding money from clerk Becky Denmark .
"[I was] definitely scared … your heart jumps up in your throat," Denmark said. "The faster you can get them out. The faster it's done. If they are gonna come in and hold a gun in your face, give them what they want and let them leave."
The suspects grabbed $291 in cash from the store before heading for the Game Stop location at 10745 E. Washington Street, according to police.
There, the suspects got away with $728 and five Xboxes – but not without an employee at a neighboring store alerting police.
The suspects then lead IMPD officers on a high-speed chase along I-70 that topped 100 miles per hour at times.
At one point, police said, Thomas jumped out of the vehicle and fled on foot. He was captured by police, as were Jenkins and Elliott after the SUV they were driving rolled and came to a stop near I-70 and State Road 9.
Elliott was charged with two counts of robbery, resisting law enforcement, unlawful possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon and carrying a handgun without a license.
Denmark identified Elliott as the person who robbed her, police said.
"I'm extremely happy. Extremely happy," Denmark said. "It's less of a worry for us. Less of a worry for other businesses around us. Anytime somebody like that is taken off the street it's good to see them go."
Elliott and Jenkins were both being held on a $60,000 bond. Thomas was being held on a $40,000 bond.
Police said they are investigating whether the trio may have been involved in other robberies.