By Sidhartha Wakade
Three men were arrested in connection with the armed robberies targeting Asian restaurants in the metro Atlanta area and across at least four counties. Local officials believe these men could be the gunmen who robbed Happy China in Madison a couple of weeks ago.
Emmanuel Rakestraw, 26, Decatur, Shaquille Rucker, 22, Decatur and Earnest Sims, 19, Jenkinsburg, were arrested in connection with the robberies.
Detective Wes Thompson, Madison Police Department, said the three were caught thanks to video footage from previous robberies and convenience store camera footage after a stolen credit card was used to make purchases.
Thompson said there is a good chance that these were the suspects that robbed Happy China, but more evidence is needed before warrants can be put out for them.
“They are prime suspects in ours as well,” Thompson said. “All the similarities match up, but as far as having enough evidence to charge them with that particular robbery… they haven’t confirmed enough yet.”
The similarities between the robberies included one tall, thin robber and one stockier robber entering restaurants through a back door, beating staff and customers and following staff and restaurant owners home before robbing them, as previously reported in the Citizen.
The Happy China robbery was one of the last robberies in the spree, according to Thompson. Authorities had been looking into the suspects long before Happy China was hit, he said.
“The FBI, Newton County, Rockdale County… they were already looking at them before our robbery even happened,” he said.
Madison police are still waiting on more details before moving further. There may be more suspects that are involved, according to Thompson.
“We know… definitely there were two here,” he said. “There could have been a third person waiting in a car. There is a possibility that there may have even been a fourth person.”
Gathering evidence to prove the connection with the Madison robbery will take some time, according to Thompson. There are enough similarities between the robberies that they may be connected, he said.
“This has got to be related,” Thompson said. “Everything matches up too good.”