5 plead guilty in PTC Target robbery

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Five men involved in the Aug. 30 armed robbery of the Target store in Peachtree City will serve prison time after entering guilty pleas in Fayette County Superior Court.

Two of the defendants, Kyle Alexander Cornell and Bradford Jay Gibbs Jr., also entered guilty pleas Thursday associated with the Sept. 12 robbery of the Pit Stop on Petrol Point in Peachtree City and the attempted armed robbery of the Sonic restaurant in Tyrone earlier that same day, according to Fayette County Assistant District Attorney David Younker.

Cornell, 21, of Harbor Loop in Peachtree City, and Gibbs, 21, of Tom Bridges Road, Newnan were both sentenced to 15 years in prison by Fayette County Superior Court Judge Tommy Hankinson, Younker said.

Gibbs, 21, was the gunman and Cornell was the driver in the Pit Stop and Sonic incidents, Younker said, and was sentenced to 15 years in prison.

The other three defendants entering guilty pleas were involved only in the Target robbery. Jeramie Paul Ruiz, 18, was identified as the gunman in the incident and was sentenced to 11 years in prison, Younker said. Surveillance video showed Ruiz forcing one customer to get on the ground, he added.

Jimmy Bernard Nash, 20, of Garden Lake Drive, Riverdale, was sentenced to 12 years in prison followed by eight years probation. Nash entered the store with Ruiz to accost employees and take the money, Younker said.

Demetrius Antoine Tucker, of 100 Knight Way, Fayetteville, was the Target employee who gave the robbery crew the information on the best time to strike the store, Younker said.

Tucker, 22, of Sunrise Court, Union City, was sentenced to three years in prison followed by seven years probation. The reason for the smaller sentence on Tucker was because he was the first to take a plea deal in the case, and he also agreed to testify against the other co-defendants, Younker said.

Surveillance video showed Tucker was on a cash register and put his hands up when Ruiz and Nash entered the store, Younker said. The video showed Tucker initially taking money out of the cash register drawer, almost closing it, and then taking more cash out after he spotted it underneath some paper, Younker said.

That was one of the first clues that led to the arrests in the case, Younker said, adding that the co-defendants all met at the same residence to split the proceeds from the robbery.

Younker credited the police work of detectives Heather Jones of the Peachtree City Police Department and Phillip Nelson of the Tyrone Police Department, noting that they were able to secure confessions from most of the defendants.

“There’s no way the citizens of Fayette County would have secured a conviction in this case without their efforts,” Younker said.

The Fayette County Sheriff’s Office was also involved as it processed the crime scene at the Tyrone Sonic, Younker said.

Younker said the case was also notable because most of the defendants went to high school in Fayette County, whereas crimes of this magnitude typically involve residents who live outside the county.