ELKHART — Elkhart police stopped an armed robbery at a Bristol Street dollar store Sunday after an employee’s husband called 911 because he heard two men burst into the store while on the phone with her.
Kar’dai Grant, 19, and Zirei Jackson, 20, were arrested after officers allegedly found them in the store along with employees and a customer sometime after 10 p.m. Sunday. Police say they also found two handguns and a backpack full of cash in the store, and a running vehicle parked nearby.
Both men were charged with armed robbery and three counts of criminal confinement while armed, all Level 3 felonies, and carrying a firearm with a past conviction, a Level 5 felony. They were booked in the Elkhart County Correctional Facility on $200,000 bond each.
Grant was on probation for firearms offenses at the time of the robbery, according to a court magistrate’s order for his arrest. Jackson was absent from work release and had an active warrant for his arrest.
Their initial court hearings are set for Thursday.
Each Level 3 felony carries a prison term of up to 16 years and each Level 5 felony is punishable by up to five years.
Robbery in progress
According to court documents:
Elkhart police responded to the Dollar General at 1800 E. Bristol St. after a man called 911 and said he was on the phone with his wife when she told him someone was at the store demanding money. The man told dispatchers he heard someone say, “Get on the floor! Get down!” and then his wife say, “Take it! Take it!”
Multiple officers arrived at the store. They found the front door locked but the back door was unsecured.
As officers surrounded the back door with guns drawn, someone tried to leave but fled back inside when ordered to show their hands. Officers then went into the store after them.
Inside, they found an employee near the back and two men near the registers at the front of the store. Police pointed guns at the men and ordered them to show their hands, then arrested them.
Police also found the store manager and a customer hiding in the manager’s office. The manager was suffering a panic attack and was treated by medics at the scene.
She told officers that she was the one on the phone with her husband when the two men came into the store, one wearing a white hoodie and a mask and the other dressed all in black.
The men showed a gun, forced a customer who was trying to leave to go back inside and had the front doors locked. They had everyone get on the floor at the back of the store after making them take their phones, keys and wallets out of their pockets.
While waiting for the safe to open, the men had the manager unlock the back door.
The men then filled a backpack with over $500 in cash. They tried to leave out the back but encountered police and turned around.
The witnesses said the men hid their handguns among the shelves while moving toward the front of the store. Officers found a black Glock 26 on a shelf and an orange and gray 9mm handgun in the next aisle, among the dental care supplies.
The Glock had a round in the chamber. It was found to have been reported stolen in Kosciusko County.
Police also impounded a Chevrolet Impala that was left running outside the business.
While officers were on scene, a regional manager arrived and helped them access the security cameras. Police obtained a copy of footage showing events unfold as witnesses had described.