LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) - Law enforcement officials say a young man gave investigators an easy way to identify him after he robbed a Village Pantry in Lafayette last week.
According to Tippecanoe County court documents, just before 11 p.m. March 13, Lafayette Police Department (LPD) officers were dispatched to the Village Pantry at 601 Union St. for a report of a robbery.
When officers arrived they spoke with the clerk working the cash register at the time of the robbery, along with a customer and witness to the robbery.
The clerk said she was behind the counter when a white male who looked to be in his 20s requested cigar wrappers. She says the man paid for them and when asked, provided the clerk with an Illinois ID to verify his age. The clerk recorded his date as Aug. 18, 1994.
The clerk told investigators that when she opened the register, the man produced a small, black semi-automatic handgun and pointed it at her face, demanding money.
The clerk said she removed all the money and handed it to the man, who then exited through the front door.
The bystander who spoke with police also confirmed that a white male was standing "too close to the counter" during the interaction.
The clerk told investigators she was "freaked" by the encounter, but she did note that the man wore a green jacket, black pants and a sweatshirt with a hood.
Officers watched video surveillance of the robbery, which showed a white male pulling out a handgun, pointing it at the clerk and demanding money. It was determined roughly $115 was missing from the cash register as a result of the robbery.
LPD officers ran the date of birth given by the man in a law enforcement database and determined a Josh P. Smith had an Illinois ID with the same date of birth. They then found a photo of Smith and determined he looked similar to the man in the video.
Officers headed to Smith's address on the 600 block of N. 8th St. in Lafayette on March 14, where they made contact with Smith, who was wearing a black hooded sweatshirt similar to the one the man was wearing in the video.
After a brief conversation with officers Smith retreated back to his apartment before allowing them inside. The officers executed a search warrant on the apartment and found a substance believed to be synthetic marijuana (spice) and a glass pipe in the apartment.
While other officers attempted to detain Smith, they say Smith resisted, swinging his body back and forth, wrestling officers and forcibly fighting officers on the ground. He kicked two officers in the legs, causing injuries to both of them.
During a further search of Smith's apartment, officers found paraphernalia, a digital scale, black jeans, a black BB gun with the appearance of a semi-automatic handgun and a package of tobacco wrappers that match the same wrappers bought by the robber on video at the Village Pantry.
The next day (March 15) during a police interview, Smith admitted to committing the robbery. He told police he did walk into that Village Pantry to commit the robbery, and further admitted to using the airsoft pistol to threaten the clerk for $120. Smith also said he saw fear in the clerk's face before leaving the Village Pantry to run back to his apartment.
Smith faces several felony charges, including robbery committed by means of a deadly weapon, theft, resisting law enforcement and battery on a law enforcement officer.
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