FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – A Fort Wayne man is accused of using a hammer to break into the drive-up windows of fast-food restaurants in order to steal entire cash registers, according to Allen Superior Court documents.
Fort Wayne police arrested 54-year-old David S. Sylvester, also known as Gerald Sylvester, last week after he crashed a stolen car while trying to evade officers who had closed in on his location, court documents said.
Prior to that crash, investigators were alerted this Thursday about a break-in and burglary at the Arby’s at 6002 Stellhorn Road.
Security footage provided by the restaurant showed a man driving up to the drive-thru window in a maroon Chevy Malibu, using a hammer to break into the eatery and stealing multiple cash registers, according to court documents.
The man in the security footage, as well as the method of the break-in, matched that shown in surveillance footage from a recent burglary at the Taco Bell at 2020 North Coliseum Boulevard, court documents said.
A third break-in, this time at the Hardee’s at 2720 Mapelcrest Road, was then reported. Security footage showed a person who looked like the same man, in the same car, as that shown in footage at the Taco Bell and Arby’s gaining access the Hardee’s and stealing cash registers, court documents said.
Police investigators were able zero in on the man in the footage as Sylvester, and witnesses who knew him thought he was living in an abandoned building near an automotive shop near Lake Avenue and Coliseum Boulevards.
An officer who went to check the area found the maroon Malibu belonging to Sylvester parked at a liquor store, according to court documents. Officers followed the Malibu to the Hallmark Inn near downtown, and then converged on the car and tried to block it in the parking lot.
Sylvester is accused of ignoring commands from officers to get out of the car. He’s accused of then accelerating towards officers.
In court documents, one investigator wrote that Sylvester narrowly missed a marked police vehicle by which an officer was standing.
The Malibu then crashed into a curb and a fence along the south side of the parking lot, careened into another marked police vehicle, crashed into the fence again near a dumpster, ran over and dragged a mattress and then sped away at a high rate of speed, court documents said.
Sylvester got the Malibu out onto Maumee Avenue but crashed it in the middle of the street and fled on foot, according to court documents.
He was then caught by officers, who found him in possession of a crack pipe, court documents said.
Inside the Malibu, officers found several cash drawers and cash registers. The Malibu was also reported stolen, according to court documents.
Sylvester is facing two preliminary counts of burglary, a count of theft, two counts of resisting arrest, a count of leaving the scene of an accident and possession of paraphernalia.
He’s being held in Allen County Jail on $30,000 bond.