Armed robbers target Bartlett businesses

Photo of suspect in the armed robbery at Five Guys Burgers & Fries in Bartlett.

 

Three armed robberies at Bartlett businesses have rattled employees’ nerves. Workers at Five Guys Burgers and Fries, Jet’s Pizza and Baskin Robbins have all had guns waved at them since late April. All cases remain under investigation.

Five Guys

Vicki Hurst, assistant manager at Five Guys (6600 Stage Road, Suite 137), said the store closed as usual and began clean-up around 10 on Sunday, May 25. The back door was unlocked about an hour later while she and three employees were taking bagged trash outside. She walked alone toward the door and came face to face with an armed intruder inside, wearing a distinctive clown mask and basketball shoes.

“He pointed the gun at me and said, ‘Give me the money,’ and I put my hands up,” she said.

Hurst led the suspect, a white male, back into the kitchen and told her co-workers, “Guys, put your hands up,” but the would-be robber didn’t stick around past “guys.”

He fled without stealing anything.

“It was scary, it was quick, and it didn’t last long,” she said.

Hurst is currently working day shifts and has not closed at Five Guys since the robbery attempt. “It was hard coming back the next day, walking into the store again,” she said. But she plans to return to her usual schedule when the security upgrades are complete.

It’s not the first time the fast-food restaurant has seen suspicious men lurking out back. General manager Tyre Flax reported opening the back door during an inventory count in September and saw two men in Halloween masks (a Scream mask and a skull mask) walk toward him.

He quickly backtracked, slammed the door and dialed the police. The suspects tried to open the door without success.

Despite the repeated robbery attempts, Flax said business is continuing as usual.

“The employees all still feel safe,” he said. “Every-one’s still coming to work.”

Hurst said since Sunday’s robbery attempt the store has improved the doors so they lock automatically when shut and will be making other security upgrades.

Seth Hargett, president of Jubilee Bartlett, which owns the Five Guys facility in Bartlett, said security remains an important part of operations, and the store will be making improvements and reviewing policies to keep employees safe.

“For us, it’s of utmost concern,” he said. “We’re proud to be part of the community, we’re proud of all our locations, and the last thing I want is people to feel unsafe coming to the store.”

He continued, “We’re taking all precautionary measures to prevent this from happening in the future.”

Bartlett police captain Richard Berryman said no arrests have been made yet in either attempt. Police reached out on social media for help Friday in finding the May 25 suspect, who they believe could be an employee of the popular burger joint. Anyone with information can call (901) 385-5565.

Jet’s Pizza

Earlier in May, a more successful bandit relieved Jet’s Pizza (7780 U.S. 64) of its cash register’s contents. Employees said a black man entered around 9:30 p.m., spent a little time at the counter, walked toward the restrooms and returned to the register with his handgun pulled.

At least employees are pretty sure it was a gun; he had covered it with a sock.

The man gestured toward the cash register with the presumed weapon and told Jet’s Pizza employee Jordan Beatty to give him all the money. The suspect then fled to the east with about $600. He was wearing a blue bandanna, black pants and a black hoodie.

Beatty has since quit, said assistant manager Amos Goostree, but the employees are managing well despite the frightening incident.

“Everybody’s a little bit more aware,” Goostree said.

Baskin Robbins

In a Baskin Robbins robbery around 9:45 p.m. on April 29, a black male suspect entered the business at 5788 Stage Road. He kept his hand under his shirt and indicated he had a gun. He told an employee near the register to put the money in a bag.

The suspect was about 6 feet 1 inch tall and kept his face covered.

The amount stolen was $265.96.


Written by Carolyn Bahm, Express editor. Contact her at (901) 433-9138 or via email to carolyn.bahm@journalinc.com.