By Jason A. Smith
Four men -- including a pair of brothers -- are suspected of robbing seven employees and customers of a local restaurant at gunpoint.
Darius Jevon Madden, 21, Ernest Odell Madden, III, 22, Marlin Dale Ramey, 18, and Avante Shaquez Wallace, 24, all of McDonough, appeared Tuesday in Magistrate Court, represented by the Public Defender's Office. Judge Robert Godwin reset preliminary hearings in their cases for Dec. 15.
The alleged heist occurred Saturday around 3 a.m., inside the Waffle House at 265 Jonesboro Road, said McDonough Police Maj. Kyle Helgerson. He confirmed that Ernest Madden, III, and Darius Madden are brothers.
"The Waffle House ... was robbed at gunpoint, according to witnesses, by three individuals," he said. "They came in wearing masks and [had] weapons. One of the individuals actually pistol-whipped a clerk inside the business, and then demanded money at gunpoint. He was able to steal ... money out of the register. The rest of the robbers stole money and cell phones from patrons inside the business."
Each man is charged with seven counts of armed robbery.
An arrest warrant for Ernest Madden, III, states that he hit a restaurant employee with the pistol. Helgerson said some of the robbery victims recognized one of the alleged robbers, but he did not specify which one.
"He had been there in the past," said Helgerson. "He was a regular customer."
Helgerson added that the alleged culprits left the scene with cell phones and less than $200 in total, from three of the patrons at the restaurant. He said police, upon further investigation, were able to identify and detain one of the suspects.
"During an interview with that individual, we were able to determine that there were actually four robbery suspects, as opposed to three that we saw on video," the major continued. "Further investigation led us to the arrests of all four individuals. We determined that the fourth individual -- Darius Madden -- was watching the back door during the robbery, and acting as a lookout."
Ernest Madden, III, is also charged with aggravated assault, and use of a firearm by a convicted felon during the commission of a crime. His arrest warrant states that he was convicted of aggravated assault in May of 2007, in Henry County.
If a judge determines there is sufficient probable cause to justify the arrests, their bonds will be set in Superior Court.