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Former employee charged in armed robbery

September 04, 2002|by CANDICE BOSELY

martinsburg@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - A former employee at the Martinsburg Applebee's is charged with robbing the restaurant's manager Tuesday morning, taking more than $18,000 before police and a K-9 dragged him out from some nearby bushes.

Daniel Martinez Gonzalez, 22, of Martins Landing, was charged with one felony count of armed robbery. He was being held in the Eastern Regional Jail on $50,000 bail.

The robbery occurred at about 10:30 a.m. Tuesday as restaurant manager Charles Peloquin was getting ready to get into his car to deposit money from the restaurant, police said. The restaurant had not yet opened, Peloquin said.

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Gonzalez had on a blue hooded sweatshirt, turned around backward with eye holes cut out in the hood, Peloquin told police. When the robber demanded money, Peloquin told police, he recognized his voice as that of a former employee.

The manager tried to reason with the robber, but the man stuck a semi-automatic pistol to Peloquin's cheek and again demanded the cash, police said.

Peloquin said Gonzalez worked at the restaurant for a year to a year and a half, but was let go after he was unable to come to work for several days.

"It's unfortunate this happened," Peloquin said, when reached at the restaurant a few hours after the robbery. "You know, I liked the guy."

After taking $18,390.62, the robber ran toward the Foxcroft Village apartment complex, said Detective Sgt. George Swartwood of the Martinsburg Police Department. A vacant 4-acre lot, a Cracker Barrel restaurant and an OfficeMax store separate Applebee's from the apartment complex.

Detective Cpl. Kevin Miller found Gonzalez in some bushes within 20 minutes after the robbery and ordered him to come out, but he refused, police alleged.

Dojan, Martinsburg's K-9 dog, was sent in and bit Gonzalez a couple of times on the leg, Swartwood said. Gonzalez was apprehended and taken to City Hospital for treatment of the bite wounds, which Swartwood said were not serious.

Police recovered all four deposit bags of money and the loaded weapon, which had been thrown into a brushy area near the apartment complex, Swartwood said.

Gonzalez told police he robbed Peloquin because he needed rent money, records allege. He told police he did not obey orders to come out from the bushes because he was scared, Swartwood said.

Officers with West Virginia State Police and the Berkeley County Sheriff's Department assisted in the search for Gonzalez.

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