RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – Richmond Police say some observant citizens helped put an end to an extensive chain of robberies in our area.
Antonio Smith, Gary Young, and David Whitaker are all charged with robbing several businesses at gunpoint, during the day. But we're told-- one phone call, put an end to their alleged crime spree this was an extensive investigation.
They're a trio police say could be responsible for dozens of robberies across south Richmond dating as far back as April.
"It was very much a chess game. They would alter their behavior, we'd alter our behavior," said Captain Harvey Powers, Commander of the Richmond Police Department.
And until now, always a step ahead of police-- despite hundreds of hours of investigative work.
"They would go in and get out very rapidly, cutting in to our ability to respond effectively to them," Powers said.
Until, police say, they took on an Allied Cash Advance, and watchful public eyes. Concerned citizens saw something strange-- and called police.
We spoke to those concerned citizens who didn't want to be on camera, but they tell us they saw two men who appeared to be in disguises rounding a corner and heading toward stores.
"The phone call that we got was critical. Citizens gave us that little bit of lead time to get in there and establish a perimeter and make the apprehension," Powers said.
Police say they're glad they finally did. The alleged serial robbers seemed to strike during the day-- and dangerously.
"These men entered, guns out, at a number of convenience stores where people were actively shopping," he added.
But no more police say. All thanks to one phone call.
"Without that phone call, we might not be in the place we are today," said Powers.
The trio faces numerous charges. We're told the investigation is continuing, as police link more crimes to these men. Federal agencies are also involved in prosecuting this.