Crime & Courts

Wichita man arrested in string of robberies was just paroled

If you witness a crime, here’s what to do

Witnessing a crime and reporting it can be just as frightening as being the victim of a crime. Here’s what you should do if you witness illegal activity.
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Witnessing a crime and reporting it can be just as frightening as being the victim of a crime. Here’s what you should do if you witness illegal activity.

A Wichita man arrested in connection with a string of recent armed robberies had not reported to his parole officer after being released from prison a week before the robberies, police say.

Willie Smith, 38, was released from prison Oct. 8, Wichita police Capt. Brent Allred said. On Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, two Wichita convenience stores and a liquor store were robbed, police said. Through an investigation, police identified Smith as the suspect in those robberies, Allred said.

Express Mart at 565 S. Market was robbed Sunday. Over the next two days, Pete’s Liquor at 322 W. Harry and QuikTrip at 1532 S. Seneca were robbed by a man with a black handgun and a similar description, police said.

On Tuesday, police found Smith at a home in the 800 block of South Topeka at around 4:30 p.m. A SWAT team and negotiators were able to communicate with Smith inside the home, and after three hours he was arrested without incident, Allred said.

The house where police found Smith was not the address he gave his parole officer, who told police he had failed to report to him after his release and helped in the investigation, Allred said.

Police are investigating how Smith was able to get a gun so quickly after being released from prison.

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