Police used surveillance video, bicycle tire tracks and a person’s preference for Black & Mild cigars to track down the armed man they say robbed Chubby’s convenience store in Forks Township around 4:30 a.m. Thursday.
A criminal complaint about the incident and the alleged robber, Tariq Jahad Yusuf Jackson, 22, also of Forks, reveals the following:
--Jackson wore a black-knit ski mask and yellow gloves, and brandished a sawed-off shotgun. A Forks officer found the mask on nearby Meco Road about an hour after the robbery.
--Jackson visited the store about 10 the night before – six and a half hours before the robbery – and asked an employee what time the store opens in the morning.
--His home at 2305 Jamie Court is .76 miles from Chubby’s, according to mapquest.com.
--Jackson’s apparent getaway vehicle was a bicycle. Police used the bike’s tire tracks to point them in the direction of Jackson’s home.
--During the robbery, he stole the wallet of the on-duty employee, a woman. The wallet contained about $500 cash and several credit cards.
--He ordered the employee to the store cash register and safe “in an attempt to steal money.” But the complaint does not say he got away with any money from the register or safe.
--He also stole several packs of Black & Mild cigars from a display shelf, “being very selective in only taking said listed brand of cigar.” The cigars are valued at about $8.
Jackson was charged with robbery, possession of a weapon, prohibited offensive weapon, simple assault and recklessly endangering another person.
He was arraigned at 11:55 p.m. Thursday by on-duty District Judge Douglas Schlegel of Wind Gap and committed to Northampton County Prison in lieu of $100,000 bail.
As reported in a previous Patch.com story, Forks Police Chief Greg Dorney said detectives are looking into Jackson’s possible involvement in two other recent incidents in the township.
In the last six weeks, the township has had at least three armed robberies: the Chubby’s incident; the robbery by two men of a Domino’s Pizza delivery man late on Oct. 31 on the 2200 block of Stone Bridge Lane, which is a short distance from Jackson’s home, and the Sept. 25 holdup of Mel’s Doggie’s Stand, 1504 Sullivan Trail, by a handgun-wielding man.
A Morning Call account of the Domino’s incident said one of the men brandished a sawed-off shotgun.
The complaint on the Chubby’s robbery, filed by Forks officer Joseph Effting, provides the following chronology of events:
--The Chubby’s employee said she arrived around 4:30am to prepare to open for business. As she unlocked and opened the rear door, a man emerged from behind Dumpsters to her right and pushed her into the store.
--He forced her to the floor and grabbed her purse. An alarm started beeping, and the man – later identified as Jackson – ordered her to get up and shut off the alarm. She said she needed to turn on lights to see the keypad.
--Jackson told her to do what he says and that he did not want to hurt her. She observed what appeared to be a shotgun.
--She described the man as tall – the complaint says he’s 6-feet-3 – wearing a maroon jacket over a blue-hooded sweatshirt, the black-knit ski mask and yellow gloves.
--He ordered her to the cash register and then to the safe “in an attempt to steal money.” He went through her purse and stole her wallet.
--He then escorted her out of the rear of the store and told her to sit in her car. She then saw him flee on foot. She moved her car toward the store’s entrance on Sullivan Trail and saw a person riding a bike in the front driveway of the Met-Ed facility across from Chubby’s.
--At about 5:42pm, Forks officer Gerald Johnson found a black-knit ski mask on Meco Road between Stone Bridge Lane and Richmond Road. The mask matched the mask worn by Jackson.
--Effting watched surveillance video that showed Jackson following the employee into the store, brandishing a sawed-off shotgun and taking her wallet and the cigars.
--Effting saw fresh bicycle tire tracks in the grass to the rear of the store. The tracks reappeared near the Met-Ed facility.
--A second store employee who was working the 6pm to midnight shift Wednesday said a man later identified as Jackson entered the store around 10pm, bought two packs of Black & Mild cigars, two bottles of St. Ides malt liquor, and asked her what time the store opened in the morning.
--Armed with a search warrant, police arrived at Jackson’s home at 7:15pm Thursday. Among the items recovered: a sawed-off shotgun; the employee’s wallet; clothing, including the yellow gloves, allegedly worn by Jackson during the robbery; several bottles of St. Ides malt liquor and a carton of Black & Mild cigars. Not recovered were the employee’s $500 and her credit cards.
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