Officer robbed in early-morning spree


FORT WORTH, TX - A 19-year-old man was in custody Thursday evening as investigators worked to untangle a string of crimes that involved at least two auto thefts and three armed robberies, one of an off-duty police officer.

Carlton Jerome Miller was arrested Thursday morning as he and three other men ran from a dark-colored SUV that had just wrecked on East Bessie Street with a police sergeant in pursuit, Lt. Dean Sullivan, a Fort Worth police spokesman, said.

Miller faces a charge of aggravated robbery, a first-degree felony, and evading arrest, a misdemeanor. No bail had been set.

The sergeant first noticed the SUV when it lingered at the light at South Main Street and Rosedale Avenue, Sullivan said. The officer approached the vehicle and questioned a passenger, whom he later identified as Miller, Sullivan said.

As the sergeant returned to his squad car to make a call, the SUV sped off. The officer pursued, calling for backup when he connected the SUV with an armed robbery that had taken place 20 minutes earlier, Sullivan said.

In that incident, two men had approached an off-duty officer about 3 a.m. in the 5500 block of Pershing Avenue as she was getting out of her vehicle.

One robber put a gun to the officer's head before noticing that she was wearing her Fort Worth police uniform, Sullivan said.

"The man was startled," Sullivan said.

The man grabbed the officer's purse and jumped into a waiting white SUV. The officer fired her handgun at the SUV, and she notified other officers through her radio. She then followed the SUV.

The white SUV crashed into a utility pole at Pershing Avenue and Prevost Street. The officer saw the men jump into a waiting, dark-colored SUV, Sullivan said.

Investigators have linked the incidents to a report by a Vietnamese man that two men, one with a handgun, took his wallet about 1:45 a.m. in the 7400 block of Ridge Road, Sullivan said.

The robbers drove off in a dark-colored SUV, Sullivan said.

About 45 minutes later, police got a call from a motorist near the intersection of Montgomery Street and Interstate 30. He reported being robbed by two men, one of whom put a handgun to his head and demanded his wallet, Sullivan said.

Those robbers sped off in a white SUV, followed by a dark SUV that had pulled up, Sullivan said.

Police determined that the white SUV had been stolen from the 4300 block of Bellaire Circle, and the dark SUV had been stolen from a body shop in the 3100 block of St. Louis Avenue, Sullivan said.

The other three men had not been arrested by late Thursday, Sullivan said.