LaFollette Police and Sheriff's Department join forces to solve crime

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By Jennifer Caldwell


An investigation that began in February 2008 with the armed robbery of the Road House Market and Deli gas station was finally brought to a close on Tuesday.

LaFollette Police Detective David Muse and Campbell County Sheriff’s Department (CCSD) Detective Brandon Elkins proved that two heads are better than one when their collaboration brought resolution to the year old case.

“If we hadn’t started working together on this case it is likely we would have never been able to solve it,” Muse said of cooperation between the LPD Detective Division and the sheriff’s department.

During the February 2008 incident a masked man reportedly entered the gas station and walked behind the cashier holding a black semi-automatic handgun. The clerk was instructed to get on his knees while the suspect allegedly stole approximately $2,500 in cash from the store.

The masked assailant then allegedly stole the clerk’s car to make his getaway, according to CCSD reports.

The victim’s vehicle was recovered along with the mask worn by the robber. It was DNA recovered from the mask that would later become instrumental in building a case against Royle Jarred Cheel, 26, of 485 Lonesome Mountain Lane, Pioneer.

Collaboration with the LaFollette Police Department began in May 2008 when the local Kentucky Fried Chicken was robbed, according to Elkins.

Two night employees at the restaurant were robbed at gunpoint as they attempted to leave the store. The male and female employees were exiting through the rear door with the deposit bags when they were accosted by a male wearing a ski mask and coveralls. The man pointed a dark colored automatic handgun and demanded the deposit bags, according to the LPD police report.

After gaining access to the bags the suspect, now known to be Cheel, fled on foot in the direction of Sharp’s motel.

After managing to evade authorities for a year, it seems that Cheel’s most recent burglary may likely be his last for a while.

Last Monday LaFollette Police officers were dispatched to Pizza Hut, where Cheel was an employee, to investigate an alarm. The restaurant appeared to be untouched, but a follow-up visit by officers revealed $600 was missing from the store’s safe, records indicate.

As evidence continued to mount in the case, Elkins and Muse felt they had enough information to bring Cheel in for questioning.

On Tuesday, the two detectives made their way to Cheel’s Pioneer residence. The suspect in the two armed robberies agreed to accompany the officers to CCSD for questioning without incident, according to Elkins.

Based on information obtained in the interview, Cheel was arrested and charged with aggravated robbery, theft of property $1000 -$9,999, burglary and theft of property $500-$999. He is scheduled to appear in court on March 13.