Police: Employees helped plan 2 recent Middletown gas station robberies


Two gas station employees have been arrested this month for allegedly setting up robberies at their Middletown businesses.

The most recent happened on Tuesday, when multiple people, including the station manager, were arrested for the armed robbery of the Shell gas station on North Verity Parkway.

Officers were called to the station at about 12:54 a.m. on Feb. 5 for the robbery report. An investigation indicated two individuals went into the gas station, displayed a black revolver and demanded money.

Detectives arrested the manager of the gas station, Dhaval Patel, also known as Doc Patel, 27, of the 800 block of North University Boulevard. Patel is charged with conspiracy to commit aggravated robbery, tampering with evidence, and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

Nicholas Wallace, 18, of the 100 block of Tanbark Dr. in Hamilton, was charged with aggravated robbery and tampering with evidence. Zachary Ritchie, 19, of the 5000 block of Hendrickson Road in Madison Twp., was charged with aggravated robbery and tampering with evidence. And a 17-year-old from Hamilton was charged with aggravated robbery and tampering with evidence.

The 17-year-old was the one holding the gun in previously released surveillance photos, and Ritchie was standing behind him, according to police.

Patel allegedly planned and participated in the robbery. He was behind the counter during the robbery and was in contact with the robbers before and after the business was robbed, police said.

Evidence suggests that Patel had assured the robbers that the cameras were off and they later demanded more money for committing the robbery when the photos were released, police said.

In a second incident, a gas station employee and a man she allegedly conspired with to commit robbery at Speedway on Roosevelt Boulevard were arrested and charged with felonies.

Zeiahna Allen called Middletown police on Feb. 3 and reported the robbery. The clerk told officers a man entered the store dressed in black, wearing a mask and carrying a white bag with a handgun inside, according to the police report.

The suspect demanded money and Newport cigarettes.

Allen said she gave the man money and threw a bunch of cigarettes in boxes at him. The suspect then left on foot toward Milton’s Donuts.

Video from Milton’s showed a tall person, dressed in black and wearing a mask, which was possibly made from a pillowcase. A police dog was called to track the suspect. The manager of the Speedway tried to obtain video from the store, but the equipment was not working, according to the police report.

An investigation determined Allen had set up the robbery with an acquaintance, according to Major Scott Reeve.

“She was going to lose her job, so she set this up with a person she had a relationship with,” Reeve said.

He added “it wasn’t much money” but would not say how much was taken.

Allen, of Aaron Drive in Middletown, was charged with robbery. Her case was bound over Wednesday for grand jury consideration after a hearing in Middletown Municipal Court.

Carl Johnson, 33, of Jackson Lane, was charged with aggravated robbery. His case was also bound over Wednesday to a grand jury.

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