110 W. New York Ave.
DeLand, FL 32720
posted Feb 11, 2013 - 1:53:28pm
A trio of suspects -- including a 48-year-old man and his nephew -- was nabbed Feb. 10 and charged in robberies at two hotels just minutes apart. And for one of the defendants, it was his second time hitting the same hotel in two months.
Sunday’s first robbery, at the Hampton Inn on Sunrise Boulevard in DeBary, was called in to the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office at 7:43 p.m. The clerk there said a man who appeared to be in his mid-40s and was wearing a black leather jacket walked into the hotel, wrapped a white t-shirt around his face and then pounded on the counter and demanded money. The clerk said the man didn’t appear to have a weapon, so he refused to give him money and instead dialed 911 to report the incident. The suspect fled the scene, but was still within eyeshot of the clerk as he called the Sheriff’s Office. Moments later, the clerk told the Sheriff’s Office telecommunicator that the suspect had gotten into a white passenger car that took off eastbound on Dirksen Drive.
The suspects, however, didn’t go far. Just a few blocks away and less than 10 minutes later, a suspect matching the same description as the one who tried to rob the Hampton Inn held up the Best Western Deltona Inn on Deltona Boulevard. And this time, the robber claimed to have a gun. When the 911 telecommunicator asked the clerk if she actually saw a weapon, the clerk replied: “I didn’t see a weapon, but I wasn’t going to take any chances.”
The clerk handed the robber $135 and then he fled out of the business -- but not before thanking the clerk and telling her to “have a nice day.” The clerk then dialed 911 at 7:51 p.m. to report the robbery. Meanwhile, law enforcement units were already in the area in response to the first robbery call. And it didn’t take them long to find the suspects. At about 8:08 p.m., an Orange City police officer spotted the suspect vehicle near Holly Avenue and Graves Avenue and pulled it over. One of the occupants, 48-year-old Charles Johnson (DOB: 6/16/64), immediately admitted that he was the one who went into both hotels to rob them. But the other two occupants -- 19-year-old Lucas Contreras (DOB: 2/20/93) and Johnson’s nephew, 20-year-old Kyle Hilton (DOB: 1/7/93) -- also were in the car during both incidents and knew Johnson had gone into the hotels to rob them.
When the defendants were picked up, Johnson only had $35 on him. He said he used the rest of the money from the Best Western robbery to buy crack cocaine. All three defendants are being charged with armed robbery, attempted robbery, assault and petty theft. Johnson also is facing added charges of a narcotics offense and destroying or tampering with evidence for throwing the crack cocaine out the window as their car was being pulled over. Deputies were able to retrieve the drugs. Meanwhile, Johnson also will be facing additional charges after confessing to robbing the Best Western Deltona Inn back in December (click on the link below to view the news release from that robbery: http://www.volusiasheriff.org//press/2012press_releases/december/120197.htm)
The comments posted below are posted by readers, not by The Beacon staff. These comments express the views and opinions of the authors, and not the administrators, moderators or webmaster. The comments forum is governed by these rules. Please use the report abuse link if you find offensive comments.
Comment on this article
Commenting is closed for this article.
If you would like to contribute a letter to the editor, please click here.
Did you find this story interesting or informative? Subscribe to The West Volusia Beacon to read more stories by Special to the Beacon, along with others from our award-winning writers. Subscribe now!