Police detectives investigating a June 16 home invasion and two other robberies got breaks when a man tried to cash stolen state lottery tickets in Durham and several law enforcement agencies reported that they recognized a man in a photo shown using a stolen credit card, according to search warrants.
Three men have been charged in the home invasion, including the man in the photo, who anonymous callers and other law enforcement officers told Cary police looked like John Devere Battle Jr.
Battle was arrested the day afterward at his mother’s home at 778 Old Zebulon Road in Wendell.
Detective L.R. Hamlin explained the chain of events when asking for a search warrant for two cell phones police had in their evidence locker after the arrest.
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A breakthrough in two armed robberies at gas stations came when a man named Adrian Anderson, who Durham police were holding on an unrelated charge May 14, told a Cary detective that he bought the lottery tickets about 5:30 that morning while he was “hanging out” at the McDougald Terrace housing project in Durham.
The tickets were among ones stolen in an armed robbery that day about 4:30 a.m. at a Kangaroo Express gas station on North Harrison Avenue in Cary.
Anderson told police that the tickets came from a man he said he knew only as “Scooter,” who took about 40 tickets out of a dark duffel bag that held more of them.
Anderson told Cary detectives he had met Scooter a few weeks earlier and that he hung out at McDougald.
Then, a robbery similar to the one at the Kangaroo Express happened June 15 about 5:15 a.m. at a Quality Mart gas station on Chapel Hill Road. Police said surveillance video showed people who looked like the same people who robbed the Kangaroo Express.
On June 16 about 2 a.m., less than 24 hours later, armed men broke into a house on Sandy Whispers Place in Cary, held a family at gunpoint for about two hours while they stole items, and forced one of the residents to drive to a Bank of America ATM. There, the man in the photo took out money with the victim’s card.
When that photo from a security camera hit the news, calls came in from colleagues at the federal Drug Enforcement Administration, Durham police and the state’s probation and parole office, Hamlin said in the warrant application. All parties said the man looked like a man they knew as John Battle.
Parole officers also said they were seeking him because he had broken a tracking bracelet he had been wearing.
The next development came in Durham again the next day, when police found a blue Ford Explorer, stolen from the Sandy Whispers Place house, burning on a street not far from the McDougald project.
With all the evidence, Cary Detective Adam Dismukes got a search warrant for Battle’s mother’s house, hoping to find him there. They did, Hamlin said in his application, along with a key to the burned Ford and jewelry, televisions and a Bank of America card taken from the Cary house.
They also found an assault rifle and a handgun, like those used in the Kangaroo Express and Quality Mart robberies, Hamlin wrote.
In addition, a woman who was at the house – and who police said was Battle’s girlfriend – told them that Scooter was a man named Tyquan Ansley and was Adrian Anderson’s cousin.
Police tracked down Ansley on June 22 and charged him in the Kangaroo Express robbery.
Battle, 23, is charged in the Kangaroo Express case and the home invasion.
Two other men also were charged, and police have said they’re looking for other suspects.
Tycorey Jamal Taborn, 25, was arrested June 17 and was charged with being an accessory after the home invasion. Police added charges June 21 in the Quality Mart robbery.
Justin Atwater, 16, who was at the Old Zebulon Road house and lives in Durham, was charged that day with being an accessory after the fact in the home invasion. On June 21, police charged him in the Quality Mart case.