November 8, 2012

Taco Bell gunman captured

Wanted for earlier robbery at Cash Express

By Nita Johnson
Staff Writer

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — The recent robbery of the north Corbin Taco Bell led police to a suspect who is now also charged in a June armed robbery.

An intense investigation into the Oct. 28 armed robbery at Taco Bell on west U.S. 25, 10 miles south of London, resulted in the arrest of 34-year-old Jason A. Wagers, of Laurel Road on Ky. 521 in London, on Friday night.

Detective Jason Back with the Laurel County Sheriff’s Office developed information on Wagers’ whereabouts and he was arrested at a residence on Heartmine Road, eight miles south of London, where he was hiding in a utility room. He was placed under arrest, without incident, and charged with the first-degree robbery of Taco Bell.

On Tuesday morning, Nov. 6, detectives working the case discovered a firearm off south U.S. 25 that is believed to be the gun used in one or both of the robberies.

In the Taco Bell robbery, four employees were on duty when a lone gunman entered the store while no customers were present and demanded money. The gunman then locked all of the employees in the freezer and fled the scene on foot. Another customer entered the restaurant and noticed the cash drawers were empty, saw no employees and contacted police. That call came, however, after one of the employees had managed to trigger an alarm inside the store.

Wagers was also charged with the June 16 armed robbery of Cash Express, also on west U.S. 25,  in which a man dressed in baggy, dark colored blue jeans, a black hoodie and ski mask, and black tennis shoes entered the business around 10:20 a.m. while carrying a black semi-automatic pistol. The gunman demanded cash, forced the clerk into a back room after collecting an undisclosed amount of cash, and fled the scene. He faces a first-degree robbery charge on that incident as well.

Wagers is lodged in the Laurel Detention Center. He was arraigned in Laurel District Court on Monday and his bond was set at $50,000 cash in the Taco Bell robbery case. He was charged with first-degree robbery, first-degree unlawful imprisonment and first-degree wanton endangerment. He is held under another $50,000 cash bond in the Cash Express robbery, on charges of first-degree robbery, first-degree unlawful imprisonment and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

A preliminary hearing on both robberies is set for Tuesday, Nov. 13 in Laurel District Court at 11 a.m.

Assisting in the investigation and arrest were Chief Deputy Eddy Sizemore, Detective Tommy Johnston, Detective Charlie Loomis, and Detective Daryl Zanet. Officers with the Knox County Sheriff’s Office also assisted.