AWOL soldier from Fort Leonard Wood accused in rash of recent robberies
By: Darrell Todd Maurina
Posted: Tuesday, June 9, 2009 12:11 pm
Spec. Paul A. Cary
SAINT ROBERT, Mo. (June 9, 2009) — An AWOL soldier from Fort Leonard Wood was charged Monday with robbing the Microtel motel in St. Robert on Saturday afternoon.
Spec. Paul August Cary, 32, of the 4th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, appeared before Associate Circuit Judge Greg Warren on Tuesday morning, having changed his military uniform for an orange prison jumpsuit. Warren arraigned him on charges of committing first-degree armed robbery, a Class A felony, by robbing a woman of $341. That woman was later identified in court documents as a motel manager.
Cary said he couldn’t afford to hire his own attorney and requested a public defender; Warren ordered him held on a $50,000 cash-only bond and scheduled a June 17 preliminary hearing.
Court documents and a press release from the St. Robert Police Department indicate that Cary is a suspect in additional robberies during the last few days at the Discount Smoke Shop and Holiday Inn Express in St. Robert, as well as the Price Cutters business in Waynesville, but he’s not yet been charged in those offenses. A Fort Leonard Wood official with the post’s drug suppression team said she had “interviewed him numerous times for crimes that he has committed on Fort Leonard Wood,” according to court documents.
Court documents indicate Cary is from the “55 Engineer Battalion,” a nonexistent unit; the report by St. Robert police filed with the courts indicates that Cary has been absent without leave from his military unit since Wednesday. Fort Leonard Wood spokesman Mike Alley confirmed that Cary was a member of the 5th Engineer Battalion, a subordinate unit of the 4th MEB. Most but not all of the 5th Engineers have been deployed to Iraq for the last 14 months and are scheduled to return in July; Alley said he didn't know why Cary was not in Iraq. Deployed military units routinely have a rear detachment that performs various stateside duties required for their units.
According to the St. Robert police press release, Cary is suspected of robbing the Discount Smoke Shop about 8:20 p.m. Thursday, charged with robbing Microtel about 1:07 p.m. Saturday, and suspected of robbing Holiday Inn Express about 4:13 p.m. Sunday. It’s not clear from court documents when the Waynesville incident happened at Price Cutters, but according to the police report submitted in the Microtel case, “all of the robberies are consistent with the same actions” and “all of the clerks feared that Mr. Cary was concealing a handgun in the bag when he was demanding their money.”
Police said those actions, in the Microtel case, involved Cary confronting the motel manager with a Wendy’s restaurant bag covering his head and demanding all the money in the cash drawer. While no gun was shown during the robberies, the manager feared for her safety because he pointed a bag in her direction, swore at her, and demanded the money.
Several of the businesses have security cameras that obtained good-quality photos of Cary that robbery victims and Fort Leonard Wood personnel were able to use to identify him, police said.
While Cary is assigned to on-post housing, he wasn’t found there. According to St. Robert police, following an intensive search, Cary was located at a home in the Laquey area and taken into custody there without incident.
Additional charges are pending on the additional robberies, St. Robert police said.