While visiting friends, a Rolla man allegedly brandished a knife, robbed his host of jewelry, cell phones and more than $600 in cash on Friday evening, Nov. 21, shortly before he drove away and was captured an hour later at a local gas station.


While visiting friends, a Rolla man allegedly brandished a knife, robbed his host of jewelry, cell phones and more than $600 in cash on Friday evening, Nov. 21, shortly before he drove away and was captured an hour later at a local gas station.
Lee Harrell Jr., 38, was arrested on charges of robbery in the first-degree and armed criminal action by Phelps County deputies and Rolla Police officers at the MPC 48 Phillips 66 service station on North U.S. Route 63.
Harrell was booked into the Phelps County Jail, pending a $100,000 bond.
According to PCSD Detective Andy Davis, Harrell was identified by the alleged victim, a resident who lives in an apartment complex located within the 10000 block of State Route E, just outside Rolla City limits.
Shortly after the robbery occurred at 12:30 a.m., a Rolla Police officer, as yet unaware of the robbery incident, noticed a suspicious-looking, dilapidated, white, 1994 Oldsmobile traveling on a Rolla street. By the time the RPD officer turned around to follow the car, it had disappeared down a side street, and the officer could not locate it, Davis explained.
PCSD deputies responded to the victim’s call for assistance while RPD officers looked for the alleged robber’s car.
After overhearing a radio transmission that described the suspect, a taxi driver called the RPD and said he had just dropped off a passenger who matched the description.
In collaboration, PCSD deputies and RPD officers arrived at the Phillips 66 service station and immediately arrested Harrell at 1:56 a.m., slightly more than one hour after the robbery occurred.
Davis said Harrell parked the Oldsmobile on a side street and left on foot before calling the taxi.