Sikeston couple charged in two store robberies

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

SIKESTON, Mo. -- A married couple with an extensive criminal history allegedly robbed Southside One Stop at 1157 S. Main St. and used their loot to purchase crack cocaine, police said Sometime during a two-day binge, they also allegedly planned their second heist, at Fast Gas on 109 East St. The second heist was foiled, police say, after the suspect appeared to be leaving Fast Gas a little too hastily, drawing an officer's attention.

Police say the husband, Thomas W. Lee, 38, of Sikeston, admitted to the crimes.

Scott County Circuit Court charged Lee and his wife, Shannon Lee, 37, with second-degree robbery. Shannon Lee was also charged with possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia.

New Madrid County will likely file charges in connection with the first robbery, according to a news release from the Sikeston Department of Public Safety.

Just before 9 p.m. Aug. 21, Thomas Lee allegedly stole $560 from the cash register at Southside One Stop, according to a probable-cause statement written by Sikeston Police detective John A. Blakely.

Lee and his wife, who told police she drove the getaway car, used the cash to purchase crack cocaine, which they smoked at a friend's house later that evening, according to the statement.

During that time, they began talking and decided to get a place together, which was why they agreed to pull off another robbery, Thomas Lee told police.

The couples' alleged plan ran aground after the completion of the second robbery Wednesday when Thomas Lee reportedly entered the Fast Gas and filled a large fountain soda cup with Mountain Dew. Police said he walked up to the counter to purchase his soda and took a $100 bill and three $20 bills from the cash register when the cashier opened the drawer, according to the sworn statement.

According to Sgt. Jim McMillen, spokesman for the Sikeston police, Lee fled the scene, but a responding officer spotted his hasty retreat and thought it was odd.

"It's something we do all the time, when we go into a scene, you look for anyone moving quickly away from the area," McMillen said.

Captain Mark Crocker detained the suspect while Blakely drove the cashier past them, and she identified Lee as the man who robbed her.

During questioning by police, Thomas Lee confessed to both robberies, and said his wife was aware of what he was going to do.

Police said they found a crack cocaine pipe with residue in Shannon Lee's possession, and the couple admitted to having spent the last several days using the drug.

Shannon Lee faces an unrelated charge of second-degree burglary in New Madrid County and has an eight-year felony drug charge pending.

Police said Thomas Lee told them he is already facing 120 days in the Department of Corrections for a burglary.

Together, the Lees have 29 felony charges and 11 convictions in their criminal history.

They are being held at Scott County Jail on a $100,000 cash bond each.

335-6611, extension 245

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