A man that police say robbed a convenience store earlier this week, turned himself into the East Ridge police on Tuesday.
Officials said that Ellis Bell Thornhill, 41, of an Orangewood Avenue address in Chattanooga, turned himself in at the Fire and Police Service Center. Charged with Aggravated Robbery, he promptly made a $25,000 bond and was released from custody. Thornhill is due to appear in East Ridge Municipal Court on Oct. 2.
According to a police report, at 6:45 a.m. on Monday, police were dispatched to the East Ridge Quick Stop at 4339 Ringgold Road on a robbery call. When officers arrived they spoke with the store’s clerk who told them that a black male entered the store and demanded money from the cash register. The clerk said the suspect had his right hand covered with a towel and the clerk believed the towel was concealing a gun. According to the report, the clerk said the suspect told him not to “try anything” just before taking the cash, about $250. The suspect forced the clerk to the floor before jumping over him and fleeing from the store.
Police reviewed video surveillance tapes which showed a black man with visible tattoos on both arms and what appeared to be a tattoo on the right side of his neck purchasing a drink inside the store just a few minutes before the robbery. The man left the store and walked around a fence at the back of the property. About five minutes later the man was back, this time with a black shirt tied around his head and a white towel wrapped around his right hand. The video showed the robbery as described by the clerk.
According to the report, police located a one dollar bill in front of a dumpster where the suspect was observed fleeing. Officers also found a white towel between two vehicles behind a wooden fence at the back of the property.
According to an affidavit of complaint, investigators were able to lift several fingerprints from a counter in the store where Thornhill was shown in the surveillance video placing his hand to brace after slipping on the floor. An analysis of the prints on Tuesday morning showed that the prints on the counter belonged to Thornhill, the report states.
According to the Chattanooga Times Free Press, Thornhill was sentenced to six years in 2013 after being convicted of robbery. Thornhill was charged with first-degree murder, especially aggravated kidnapping, aggravated arson, aggravated assault and abuse of a corpse, in 2015, in connection with the 2013 death of Lucius Moss. Chattanooga police found Moss’s body inside a burned brick duplex at 1802 Wilcox Blvd. on Feb. 7, 2013. Neighbors said the man had been killed after an argument.
Court officials said the charges against Thornhill associated with the Moss death were ultimately dismissed, due to credibility issues with a Chattanooga Police Department detective who was investigating the case.