One of two Chattanooga men charged in a pizza store robbery this week appeared in Washington County Sessions Court on Thursday for arraignment.
Martell Levon Jones, 26, 3818 Dorris St., Chattanooga, and Ledarius Owens, 27, 4005 Highland Ave., Chattanooga, were arrested Monday night after a pursuit with Unicoi County sheriff’s deputies.
Jones is charged with aggravated robbery in Washington County for a holdup at Little Caesars Pizza on North Roan Street.
It happened at around 8 p.m. Monday. Johnson City police said one black male entered the store, showed a gun and demanded employees hand over money from the safe and cash register.
The man left with approximately $558 in cash and rolled coins. Witnesses said the man and got into a red, four-door car with a spoiler, and the car turned left onto North Roan Street.
Unicoi County officials became involved around 11 p.m. after they received a call from North Carolina authorities in pursuit of a red vehicle with no visible registration on Interstate 26 westbound toward Tennessee.
Police said the descriptions of Jones and Owens matched the BOLO, or be-on-the-lookout, alert issued by JCPD in connection to the pizza store robbery.
Unicoi County deputies set up spike strips at Exit 46 in an attempt to stop the car. The strips flattened a couple of the vehicle’s tires, but the driver — later determined to be Owens — continued westbound on I-26. Deputies continued the pursuit and set up a rolling roadblock around Exit 43. As officers attempted to stop the car, Owens struck a cruiser and the concrete barrier along the interstate several times.
Owens veered off the road at Exit 40, and he ran from the car, scaled the right-of-way fence near the exit and ran into the Valero service station parking lot. Officers were able to catch up to Owens there and take him into custody.
Jones was also taken into custody. He isn’t charged in Unicoi County, but Owens will be arraigned on an evading arrest charge today in General Sessions Court.
According to the Chattanooga Times Free Press, Jones is a documented 126 Athens Park Blood gang member with a lengthy arrest record, including arrests for traffic violations and drug charges.
In March 2010, he was convicted of one count of robbery. He received a four-year suspended sentence, records show.
Jones reportedly fired off a few shots in the direction of a store clerk after holding up a Speed Mart at 3100 Dodds Ave., according to Chattanooga police. Police also believe he robbed a Cricket store in Chattanooga at 2700 Broad St. As a result, Jones faces charges of three counts of aggravated robbery, attempted murder and kidnapping.
Jones’ next court date in Washington County was not available late Thursday. He was jailed on $50,000 bond.