WASHINGTON PARK, Ill. – A man in custody for striking a Florissant police officer with his car has been accused of targeting St. Louis-area restaurants for the past several months. The losses in those thefts may top $100,000.
On Monday, 27-year-old Aaron Lewis was arrested in north city after allegedly injuring the officer. Florissant police had come to St. Louis to arrest Lewis.
The injured officer has since been released from a hospital.
Nearly three weeks prior, Fox 2 showed the damage at a Church’s Chicken in Washington Park, Illinois and surveillance photos of a man suspected in nine Church’s break-ins alone in the St. Louis-area, with losses at those restaurants at least in the tens of thousands of dollars.
By Wednesday, word was spreading through Church’s management.
“I heard that our bandit has been caught. I’m glad to hear that,” said Devonda Sye, manager of the restaurant in Washington Park.
Charges have yet to be filed in that case.
Lewis has been charged in multiple restaurant burglaries in St. Louis County:
- May 12 at Gulf Shores in Creve Coeur
- June 21at the Popeye’s in Florissant
- August 29 and September 9 at Church’s restaurants in south county
At present, Lewis is charged with four counts of burglary and three counts of stealing with additional charges pending.
“It’s just sad and it’s scary. That was the scary part about it,” Sye said. “We didn’t even know what to expect walking in here. We have families to go home to. Everybody’s got families to go home to and that’s the last thing you want to worry about is not making it back home.”
Court records show Lewis was released after the Gulf Shores break-in and the other crimes followed.
Florissant police were trying to arrest him for the Popeye’s break-in Monday when he allegedly hit the officer. He remains jailed with no bond.
State records show Lewis was in state prison from May 2013 to May 2014. He has past convictions for robbery, resisting arrest, and felony tampering with a vehicle.