Cape Girardeau police officer Jonathan Ortmann didn't have to go out of his way Saturday to make an arrest in his search for a robbery and assault suspect.
The man was waiting for Ortmann at the police department by the time the patrolman returned from taking the report.
Justin E. Patterson, 21, of Cape Girardeau was hit with charges of first-degree attempted robbery, felonious restraint and armed criminal action after Ortmann saw him at the department on an unrelated matter. Patterson matched the description the victim had given of a knife-wielding man who allegedly forced the victim in his car and then beat him when he found he didn't have any cash.
Ortmann could not be reached for comment, but department spokesman Darin Hickey said it's not uncommon for officers to find a suspect at the department being investigated or questioned on other matters.
"It's happened before," Hickey said. "Maybe not that quick, but we're trained to observe, and if we see somebody here as part of another investigation, you can bet we're paying attention."
Ortmann must have been paying attention when, shortly after 4 p.m., he was dispatched to take a statement from a man and his female friend at a Cape Girardeau restaurant. Ortmann was told by the victim that he was walking home earlier in the day from Route 66 Movie, a rental store on Silver Springs Road, when a light-colored car pulled up beside him.
The driver barked at him to hand over money, the victim told Ortmann. The victim described the driver as having a "gangster attitude" who seemed to be "under the influence of drugs." When he told the driver that he had no money, more threats came from the driver. Finally, the man was ordered to get into the car or the driver promised to hurt him, the statement said.
The man believed that the driver would have made good on the threat, so he got in, Ortmann said. The driver sped off, with the victim in the car. The driver then allegedly pulled out a knife, one the victim would describe as gray and less than 5 inches long -- a "box-cutter type."
The driver ordered the victim to "empty his pockets," the statement said. This time, the driver promised to kill the victim if he didn't comply, Ortmann said.
When another car pulled out of a driveway, causing the driver to hit the brakes, the driver hit the victim twice in the face with his fists, the victim told police.
That's when the man kicked open the door and got out of the vehicle just before it drove away. He walked to a friend's workplace and she called police.
The friend also dictated some of her visibly shaken friend's statement when he was unable, Ortmann said. Ortmann also noticed, when he arrived, blood, the victim's swollen upper lip and a red mark above his left eye.
The victim told Ortmann the driver had a number of tattoos on his arms and chest. The car, the victim said, was light in color.
After taking the report, Ortmann went directly to the police station on Sprigg Street for a Saturday afternoon briefing. If Patterson had not been swearing loudly from the booking room -- where he was being questioned on another matter -- he may never have been linked to this crime. But Ortmann heard the yelling and wanted to check security, he wrote in his report.
When he saw Patterson, who has tattoos on his arms and chest, facial hair and is of a slim build, he became suspicious. He asked another officer where Patterson was arrested, and it was on Silver Springs Road, near where the victim said he'd been ordered into the car. He learned that Patterson drove a silver Mitsubish, and an inventory found that Patterson was in possession of two knives.
Three felony charges were filed by Cape Girardeau County Prosecuting Attorney Chris Limbaugh; they carry a possible punishment of up to 25 years in prison. Patterson remained in custody of the Cape Girardeau County Jail on a $75,000 bond. At Patterson's arraignment this week, he applied for and was granted representation by a public defender. A preliminary hearing has been set at 11 a.m. Feb. 13 in front of Judge Gary Kamp.
40 S. Sprigg St., Cape Girardeau, MO