Armed robberies at Little Caesar's Pizza in Rolla and Furniture Express in St. Robert appear to have a connection. According to court documents, the same two individuals were arrested and charged with the crimes.

Casey L. Hawkins, a 21 year-old female from Hillsboro, Mo., and Jordan A. Sutherland, a 20 year-old male from Steelville, Mo. have both been arrested and charged in connection with the robberies. Both individuals have been charged with Robbery in the first degree, a class A felony.

According to the probable cause statement in the Little Caesar's Pizza robbery, filed by the Rolla Police Department (RPD), Sutherland admitted to the reporting officer that he and Hawkins drove to the restaurant in her mother's car on Wednesday, Nov. 8.

"Sutherland told me that he instructed Hawkins to wait in the car and then he went into the business and robbed them of their money. Sutherland told me that he then returned to the car and Hawkins drove them from the scene of the robbery and to St. Robert, Missouri," the probable cause statement from the reporting officer reported.

According to court documents, Sutherland had in his possession a BB gun that he had tucked into his waistband "at the time he committed the robbery." Sutherland told Rolla police that he "discarded the gun as he was returning to the car."

"Hawkins told me that prior to the robbery, she and Sutherland drove around Rolla for a while during which time Sutherland talked about wanting to rob a business. Hawkins told me that they visited several businesses including the GameStop of Rolla where Sutherland talked about robbing a business. Hawkins told me that Sutherland settled on the Little Caesars Pizza restaurant and Sutherland directed her to that location," The RPD officer reported in his probable cause statement.

According to the RPD probable cause statement, Hawkins returned to the car approximately five minutes after exiting the vehicle, telling her leave quickly, at which time they drove to St. Robert.

On Thursday, Nov. 9, the following day, the Furniture Express in St. Robert was robbed around 6:39 p.m. but the manager of the establishment, on duty at the time, recognized the alleged robber as a former employee, who had been fired two weeks earlier, and identified him by name to police.

"Mr. Sutherland had lifted his shirt and brandished a firearm, described by the victim as a black handgun with a clip, not a revolver. Mr. Sutherland then forcibly took possession of a zip-up bank bag containing the daily deposit from Furniture Express," St. Robert Police Department's (SRPD) probable cause statement said.

According to the court documents, approximately $170 in cash was stolen from the Furniture Express.

SRPD located Hawkins vehicle, after being advised by Pulaski County Sheriff's Department that Sutherland could possibly be in her company, traveling on Highway 28 near the north outer road and initiated a traffic stop. Hawkins was driving the vehicle and Sutherland was in the passenger seat, according to the report.

SRPD's probable cause statement said that Sutherland had "displayed a handgun" during the course of the Furniture Express robbery and discovered a "realistic replica handgun" in the center console of Hawkins' vehicle, as well as $170 in cash, when he was found by SRPD.

Hawkins denied any knowledge of the Furniture Express robbery when questioned by SRPD, according to the probable cause statement, but Sutherland reported that he had her drop him off at the Baymont Inn parking lot and "he told her to leave while he committed the robbery, and then come back and pick him up."

Hawkins said, according to the probable cause statement, that when Sutherland got back into the vehicle he told her they needed to get out of there and "acknowledged that this behavior was not ordinary."

Both Hawkins and Sutherland face between 10 and 30 years for the current charges in Pulaski County and are being held on one million dollar bond. Phelps County charged Sutherland with the same charges and requested a $250,000, originally, but a search of, at press time, revealed that there is a different pending charge with a new case number, but the case wasn't available to view a that time. Hawkins also had a warrant issued for her arrest with a bond set at $100,000 in Phelps County, but she also has the same message listed on her case about a new case number and pending charge.

The Daily Guide and the Rolla Daily News will continue to follow this story as it develops.