Two arrested in Metairie convenience store robbery suspected in similar crimes

The Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office on Monday arrested two men on suspicion of robbing a Metairie convenience store.

Now, detectives are trying to determine whether the men are also responsible for a string of recent armed robberies of other Jefferson Parish convenience stores.

Michael Thomas, 30, of Waggaman, and Carlos Williams, 19, of New Orleans, were each booked with three counts of first-degree robbery after they were arrested following an armed robbery Monday night, said Col. John Fortunato, a Sheriff’s Office spokesman.

About 9:55 p.m., JPSO deputies responded to an armed robbery at the Quick Stop at 3654 18th St.

The victims told investigators that three men — at least two of whom were armed — walked into the business and demanded money. After getting the three victims’ cash, the men ran away toward Division Street.

A short time later, a JPSO deputy was flagged down by a witness to the robbery who pointed out the suspects. The deputy began a chase that ended on Steffano Street, where he saw the suspects trying to get into a Kia sport-utility vehicle.

When the suspects saw the deputy, two ran away. Thomas, who did not run, walked up to the deputy and said his wife owns the vehicle and asked why the deputy was there, Fortunato said.

The deputy told Thomas about the armed robbery and said he noticed a semi-automatic pistol in the SUV that fit the description of the gun used in the Quick Stop robbery and another armed robbery earlier that night at a convenience store in Kenner.

Thomas took the deputy to the 3700 block of Steffano Street, where they found Williams. Williams admitted to having been with Thomas and another unknown man when the Quick Stop was robbed, Fortunato said.

Based on the victims’ descriptions of the Quick Stop robbers, detectives believe the men are responsible for that robbery and the one earlier that night in Kenner.

Detectives also believe the men are responsible for a recent string of armed robberies of convenience stores, mostly Brother’s Food Marts, in Jefferson Parish.

The most recent robbery happened Monday night at the Brother’s store in the 3600 block of 18th Street in Metairie. Two nights earlier, the Brother’s in the 3500 block of the Interstate 10 Service Road in Metairie was hit, and about 1:30 a.m. Sunday, an armed robbery was reported at the Brother’s in the 900 block of Seven Oaks Boulevard in Bridge City.

Williams has prior arrests for simple escape and narcotics violations. Thomas has a conviction in Jefferson Parish for a 2003 armed robbery; he served nine years of a 10-year sentence in that case.

Both men remained in jail Thursday.

Thomas’ bond was set at $451,500, according to jail records. Williams’ bond was set at $450,000.