Starke police arrest 3 men in 2 separate armed robberies

Two stores on North Temple Avenue robbed

From left to right: Wesley Scott Godwin, John Franklin Burns and Levi Jarrett Nelson.
From left to right: Wesley Scott Godwin, John Franklin Burns and Levi Jarrett Nelson.

STARKE, Fla. – The Starke Police Department has made three arrests in two armed robbery cases from earlier this month.

The first robbery was reported at 3:07 p.m. Jan. 13 at Gator Discount Beverage at 1103 N. Temple Avenue.

According to officials, the victim said a man entered the store held up a knife, instructing him to turn around and forcing him to the floor. The man zip-tied the victim's hands behind his back, police said.

The suspect opened the cash register, stole an undisclosed amount of money and cut the wires of the surveillance system before leaving, police said.

The suspect's face was covered by a cloth or bandanna.

After the suspect fled, the victim escaped from the zip tie and called police.

Video from surrounding businesses and other interviews led to the arrest of Wesley Scott Godwin, 40, of Hampton. Godwin is charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and robbery.

Police also arrested two men in connection with an armed robbery at 9:39 p.m. Jan. 23 at the In & Out convenience store at 708 N. Temple Avenue.

The victim said a man walked into the store, pointed a rifle at her and demanded that she give him "all the money, even the money under the counter." The man threw a leopard-print bag on the counter and the victim complied with his demands, putting an undisclosed amount of money in the bag.

The suspect fled the store on foot with the bag.

Video surveillance showed that the man was holding a shotgun and had a tattoo on his right hand. Police received a tip on Jan. 24 that identified suspects who might have conspired with the robber or acted as an accessory before or after the fact.

One of those possible suspects, John Franklin Burns, 43, was arrested Jan. 25 on a charge of accessory after the fact.

A warrant was issued for Levi Jarrett Nelson, 18, who was arrested Thursday. Nelson is charged with grand theft and robbery with a firearm.

Police recovered the shotgun, the leopard print bag, a mask and clothing they say were used during the robbery. After an interview, police said additional charges will be filed against Burns and more people may be charged.