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Feds seek DNA sample from suspect in robberies

Feds seek DNA sample from suspect in robberies

Law enforcement officials accuse car lot owner

July 21st, 2018 by Lynn LaRowe in Texarkana News

A federal search warrant unsealed this week sheds light into the investigation of a car lot owner accused of committing 10 armed robberies in 2017 of banks and businesses in both Texarkana, Ark., and Texarkana, Texas.

Troy Ware

Troy Ware

Photo by Submitted to the Texarkana Gazette /Texarkana Gazette.

Troy Lee Ware, 65, has been in the Miller County jail since his arrest in January on charges stemming from seven robberies in Texarkana, Ark. The search warrant, filed June 26 in the Texarkana Division of the Western District of Arkansas and unsealed this week, seeks approval for collection of a sample of Ware's DNA.

The affidavit outlining the probable cause for the DNA sample focuses mainly on how investigators with the Texarkana, Texas, Police Department and FBI are linking Ware to the April 26 gunpoint robbery of a Wells Fargo bank branch on New Boston Road in Texarkana, Texas, where a masked robber wearing gloves fled the scene on a bicycle, according to the search warrant affidavit used to create the following account.

In the Wells Fargo robbery, the tellers were ordered to lie on the floor as they were threatened with a semiautomatic handgun. The robber told one of the tellers to stand up and ordered her to place all of the large bills in her drawer into a gym bag. When he realized the teller didn't have many large bills, Ware demanded the entire contents of the drawer and fled with $5,425 of the bank's money.

As the robber exited the bank, the toboggan with eye holes cut out which had been covering his head, fell to the ground and was later collected by police. That toboggan was sent to an FBI crime lab for analysis. While staff were unable to find any hairs in the hat, a sample of DNA suitable for comparison was obtained.

When the DNA profile collected from the hat was run through the federal DNA database into which DNA profiles of convicted felons are entered, a match was allegedly found to Ware. To make the match a solid one, analysts requested a confirmation DNA sample from Ware which led to the federal search warrant application. U.S. Magistrate Judge Barry Bryant approved the warrant and a new DNA sample was collected June 27 from Ware at the Miller County jail.

While Ware has a history of convictions for aggravated robbery dating back to the 1970s in California, his DNA was likely entered into the federal database more recently

When Ware's home and office were searched Jan. 24 by Texarkana, Ark., police, a toboggan with eye holes cut out was allegedly found which is similar to the one collected by investigators after the Wells Fargo robbery in Texas.

According to the federal search warrant affidavit, investigators are linking Ware to the Texas bank robbery through a Toyota SUV as well. When the Wells Fargo robber left the bank and sped away on a bicycle, a witness followed and watched as the armed man ditched the bike at a nearby abandoned house and drove away in a silver or gray Toyota SUV. A Texarkana, Texas, detective recalled seeing the Toyota on the lot of a local body shop but couldn't remember exactly when.

After interviewing the owners of the body shop and the owner of a local wrecker service, Ware may have had possession of a Toyota SUV at the time of the Wells Fargo robbery. The body shop owner told investigators he'd allowed Ware to take the car to his lot to sell but that Ware had returned it, claiming he was unable to find a buyer.

Ware is currently scheduled for trial in Miller County in October on seven counts of aggravated robbery and two counts of aggravated assault for displaying a firearm in such a manner as to place lives in jeopardy. Each of the assault charges is punishable by a fine of up to $10,000 and up to six years in prison. Each of the robbery charges in Arkansas is punishable by 10 to 40 years or life in prison.

A motion to revoke a probation Ware was serving in Miller County at the time of his arrest in January is also pending. Ware was sentenced to probation for filing a fraudulent insurance claim that netted him more than $14,000. Ware abandoned a Cadillac at an impound lot after it broke down. Instead of paying the lot for repairing it, Ware filed a false police report claiming the car was stolen and filed a fraudulent claim with his insurance company. While Ware's bail on the robbery charges in Arkansas is set at $250,000, he will not be released even if he does post bond because he is not entitled to bail on a probation revocation.

Three warrants also exist for Ware in connection with three 2017 robberies in Texarkana, Texas.

Ware is accused of the following robberies:

Feb. 16, 2017: BanCorp South, State Line Avenue, Texarkana, Ark.

April 18, 2017: Exxon, New Boston Road, Texarkana, Texas.

April 22, 2017: Papa John's, Texarkana, Texas.

April 24, 2017: Fast & Low convenience store, Texarkana, Ark.

April 26, 2017: Wells Fargo, New Boston Road, Texarkana, Texas.

June 9, 2017: Exxon, Texarkana, Ark.

Oct. 24, 2017: Family Dollar, Texarkana, Ark.

Oct. 27, 2017: Texas Liquor, Texarkana, Ark.

Dec. 9, 2017: Fast & Low convenience store, Texarkana, Ark.

Dec. 12, 2017: Bottle Shop, Texarkana, Ark.

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