Athens Police have made two arrests in connection with a Monday night armed robbery attempt at a local restaurant.

Criminal Investigative Unit Detective Sergeant Don Yarbrough said evidence may also link one of the suspects to a Friday night strong-arm robbery at Brookshire’s.

Robert Lewis Garcia, 23, of Grand Prairie, and Ernest Jai Warren Jr.,19, of Athens, remained in the Henderson County Jail Friday, charged with aggravated robbery. Bond on each was set at $100,000. Both are charged in connection to the failed robbery of the Braums restaurant on East Tyler Street.

“The reason it’s aggravated robbery is because a weapon was exhibited and (there was) a slight injury to one of the employees,” Yarbrough said.

The Braums robbery attempt was reported shortly after 10 p.m. Monday. APD reports stated an employee heard someone tapping at the back door. When he opened the door, two men, wearing masks, burst in. Displaying a handgun, one man ordered a male employee to get down on the floor.

The robbers were apparently frightened by the presence of other employees in the store and fled through the back door. Store manager Cristi Ray told police one of the would-be bandits was possibly a former employee. Garcia is a former Braums employee.

The Braums robbery attempt followed a Friday night robbery at Brookshire’s. In that incident, a store employee told APD officers she was robbed as she left the store to place the bank deposit in the night drop. The thief reportedly hit her on the arm and ran down Lane Street in the direction of Athens Town Homes.

A Brookshire’s video surveillance camera recorded the robbery, Yarbrough said.

Investigators contacted Garcia, who came voluntarily to APD Wednesday for an interview. There he was arrested on the aggravated robbery charge in connection to the Braums incident. Thursday, police interviewed and arrested Warren, who had also come in voluntarily.

On Thursday afternoon, investigators executed an evidentiary search warrant at Garcia’s home in Grand Prairie. Yarbrough said police have collected enough evidence to charge one of the suspects with the Brookshire’s robbery.

Adam Parkins and James Bonnette have been conducting the CID investigation, Yarbrough said.

Yarbrough said the Braums and Brookshire’s cases are probably not connected to an armed robbery at Gibson’s Pharmacy May 26. A man entered the business armed with a handgun and took the store’s supply of hydrocodone.

“We have a suspect in that case who is not currently in Athens. We’re still investigating, but we believe it was done by a different person than the recent robberies,” Yarbrough said.

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