Police: Armed robbery, police chase suspects connected to other robberies

Demarcus Mathews (Source: East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office)
Demarcus Mathews (Source: East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office)
Terrance Venson
Terrance Venson
Jeremy Ford
Jeremy Ford

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Bond has been set for the three men arrested in connection with an armed robbery at a pizza place and police chase late Sunday night. Police also say two of the three men are connected to "several recent armed robberies" as well.

The East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office reported the following bond amounts for the suspects:

Demarcus Mathews, 19, of Gonzales - $270,000

Terrance Venson, 20, of Baton Rouge - $270,000

Jeremy Ford, 23, of Baton Rouge - $100,000

All three suspects are charged with armed robbery. Mathews and Venson are also charged with aggravated flight and resisting an officer. As of Tuesday morning, all three suspects were still being held in the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison.

The Baton Rouge Police Department said the Papa John's on Lee Drive was robbed at gunpoint around 10:30 p.m. Sunday. Cpl. Don Coppola Jr. reported three suspects walked into the restaurant wearing masks. Investigators believe Mathews and Venson then pulled out handguns.

Police said the pair ordered the employees on the ground, while Mathews allegedly took money from the register and a worker's cell phone. According to Coppola, the trio then left the restaurant and drove off.

Investigators said officers spotted a car matching the description of the suspects' vehicle a little while later. Police said the initial driver, identified as Mathews, refused to pull over and a chase ensued. They added the car eventually stopped, the driver jumped out and ran off. Mathews was later caught by police dogs and their handlers.

Detectives said when the driver fled, it is believed Venson, who they reported was in the front passenger seat, took the wheel and drove off. Police used spike strips to flatten the tires on the car, but they said that didn't stop the suspects. It remains unknown where the spike strips were used, but witnesses said the car was seen on Government Street riding on flat tires.

The tires eventually popped, but the car continued rolling on just the rims until it was forced to stop when it crashed into a parked car on Glenmore Avenue, right behind Bernard Terrace Elementary. Police said the driver jumped out and tried to run. Police dogs and their handlers later apprehended Venson.

According to investigators, Ford stayed in the car after the crash and was then taken into custody.

Police say Mathews has been linked to the armed robbery of Sugar Belle, a bakery on Plank Road, that happened Feb. 12, and Real Deal, a clothing store also on Plank Road.

Real Deal owner Munther Hamideh tells 9News he is relieved that a suspect has been arrested in the robbery of his store. "I was very upset when it happened. I work hard for my money," Hamideh told 9News. "Why somebody can just come in here and pull a gun on me sticking it between my eyes is nothing nice. Nothing nice at all. A very bad experience that I wish no one has to go through."

Both Mathews and Venson have been linked to the armed robbery of Metro PCS that happened on Feb. 13.

Reports say detectives were able to recover the handguns used in the robberies, along with money taken from the Papa John's robbery.

Armed robbery charges have been added to both Mathews and Venson for each robbery they were connected to.

The investigation is ongoing.

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