Restaurant Robber Sentenced To 25 Years

Robber Put Shotgun To Employee's Head, Demanded Money

STARKE, Fla. – A 25-year-old man has pleaded guilty to robbery with a firearm and kidnapping at Grannies Restaurant in Starke and has been sentenced to 25 years in prison.

Starke police said Jerry Simmons robbed the restaurant in January 2010, and prosecutors said they are continuing to build their case toward apprehending and prosecuting a second suspect in the robbery.

Police said two men with guns approached an employee who had left the kitchen of the restaurant on North Temple Avenue to dispose of some grease about 9:15 p.m., just after closing hours. One of the men put a shotgun to the employee's head and ordered him to let them inside.

The men came in the kitchen door and made their way to the office, where another employee was counting the day's receipts. The robber with a shotgun ordered three employees to get on the floor and not call police. The robber took an undisclosed amount of cash and ran out the back door.

The employees told police they heard a gunshot as soon as the robbers left.

One of the employees told officers he recognized one of the robbers as a former employee, Simmons. Police said Simmons was found at the apartment complex where he lived and taken into custody that night. Officers said some cash was also recovered.

Police searching the area between the restaurant and the apartment complex the next day said they found a sawed-off 20-gauge shotgun similar to the one used in the robbery. Later that day, they said officers found a duffel bag containing a handgun and a ski mask.

Anyone with any information about the second man in the robbery is asked to call investigator James Hooper or Capt. Roman Alvarez at 904-964-5400.