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One in custody, others sought in Waffle House robbery

January 30, 2007

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - A man accused of robbing the Waffle House at 1807 Edwin Miller Boulevard on Jan. 14 was arrested at a Hedgesville, W.Va., home, and Berkeley County Sheriff's Department Sgt. W. A. Johnson said police were looking for two men believed to be his accomplices.

Garry L. Himes, 24, of Hedgesville, and Richard "Ricky" L. Ernst, 26, and Wayne R. Bates, 22, both of the Hedgesville area, are charged with conspiracy to commit robbery and armed robbery, Johnson said.

Himes was arrested during a search warrant at about 12:30 p.m. Saturday, a press release states.

Police on Monday were looking for Ernst and Bates. Both men are about 5 feet 10 inches tall and between 120 and 130 pounds, Johnson said.

Donning masks, purple latex gloves and wearing dark clothing, two of the men entered the restaurant with guns - a bolt-action rifle and a sawed-off shotgun/rifle and a machete-style knife, according to an affidavit filed in magistrate court by Johnson. The trio walked to the Waffle House from the parking lot of nearby Warm Springs Animal Hospital, traveling through a small wooded area and briar patches, Johnson said.

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They failed to get any money from the restaurant safe, but allegedly bragged about committing the crime and a "clean get-away" through the use of a white Oldsmobile with chrome wheels, Johnson said in the affidavit.

Johnson said police learned that a girlfriend of one of the accused robbers had worked at the restaurant and had received "inside information" before staging the robbery.

"One suspect stood in the main area to watch the victims and stand guard," Johnson said. "The other two, without a word, cleared the counter and went straight to the office knowing exactly where to go and did not search for anything."

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