Police make arrest in Austin-area armed convenience store robberies
Police arrested a man accused of committing armed robberies at 11 convenience stores in the Austin area over a five-month period.
According to an arrest affidavit for Jeremy Hurt Biddle, 30, he was arrested August 3 at a Motel near Rundberg Lane and Interstate 35 Thursday, Aug. 3.
The first robbery incident was reported at Woody's Convenience Store in the 100 block of Farm to Market 1626, near Akins High School just before 11:30 p.m March 22. The store clerk said a man came into the business around closing time, wearing a black hoodie, blue jeans and a white sock on his left hand, The clerk said the man pointed a black semi-automatic pistol at him and demanded money from the cash register be put into a bag. Police said the suspect fled the scene with an undisclosed amount of money.
Using surveillance video from the business, police said they noticed the suspect had a large nose and was wearing glasses. The suspect was also wearing what they labeled a "distinct pair of shoes" in the affidavit: black mid-top basketball shoes with a white sole.
From March 22 through July 27, police said 10 more armed robberies occurred at convenience store locations in Austin, San Marcos and Pflugerville. In all of the cases, there wasn't a difference in the physical likeness of the suspect from the original incident at Woody's Convenience Store. The suspect was also seen in surveillance video demanding money while brandishing a weapon at the store clerks, the affidavit said.
Police said they identified Biddle as a suspect in the cases after they were tipped off by a concerned citizen, who used to work at the same company as him. The citizen told police Biddle was accused of stealing a wallet from a purse at their previous place of work, and that he was caught on surveillance video in the act. The citizen said after watching the TV show "Live PD" and seeing the suspect in the armed robberies in the Austin area, the person said they were "100 percent" sure Biddle was the robber behind the mask.
According to the arrest affidavit, investigators were notified Biddle had a warrant out for his arrest for a probation violation, involving possessing a controlled substance. Officers tracked Biddle down to a Motel 6 he was staying at in north Austin.
Biddle was at the motel with his girlfriend. Police arrested Biddle at the scene and the girlfriend agreed to speak to investigators working on the case. The girlfriend told police that Biddle is a heroin addict and that they use drugs together. She also told police she was confused about a large wad of cash she had seen Biddle with because she knows he doesn't have a job. When police showed the girlfriend video of the suspect robbing several locations in the Austin area, the girlfriend confirmed to investigators that Biddle was the man seen in the video.
During Biddle's interview, he confirmed to detectives that he is a heroin user who has had ups and downs with his sobriety. Investigators claim his heroin usage coincided with the robberies. Investigators noted that when Biddle said he stopped using heroin, there were no robberies during the month of April. But during the months Biddle claimed to be using the drug, the number of robberies spiked.
According to the affidavit, Biddle was arrested wearing the shoes that investigators noted as "distinct" in the surveillance footage. Detectives said they used the shoes as evidence as well as a mask that was allegedly used during the robberies. Because of Biddle's prior arrest record, detectives were able to match DNA from the mask to a DNA sample from another incident.
Biddle is being held in the Travis County Jail on a 150,000 bond and is charged with aggravated robbery with a deadly weapon, a first-degree felony. If convicted, Biddle faces five years to a life in prison sentence.