Two Pine Bluff motels were robbed during a short period of time early Sunday morning, and police arrested two brothers who they say were involved.
Dionte Gurley, 24, and Howard Gurley, 21, both of Humphrey, were in a vehicle that matched the description of one seen on video from Motel 6 and the Quality Inn. The pair was also captured on video from the Hampton Inn where a third robbery attempt was unsuccessful, authorities said.
According to a probable cause affidavit from Pine Bluff Detective Jeremy Oswalt, the desk clerk at Motel 6 at 3103 Market St. said he was sitting in the office when a man wearing a white shirt around his head and sunglasses jumped the counter, pointed a rifle at him and demanded money. That occurred at about 3:17 a.m.
The clerk told police he pointed to a drawer where the cash was kept and the man took $300 before leaving.
Video from the outside of the motel showed the man arriving in a black Toyota 4-Runner and leaving as a passenger.
While officers were still at the scene at Motel 6, they were notified that the Quality Inn at 2908 Pines Mall had been robbed by a suspect who matched the description of the robber at Motel 6. The female clerk on duty said the male jumped the counter, pointed a rifle at her and demanded money. She said she also pointed to a drawer, and the suspect took $200 before fleeing.
After the same suspect attempted to rob the Hampton Inn at 511 Mallard Loop, police intensified their search for the suspect’s vehicle and found it at the Splash Car Wash at 3108 Camden Road, occupied by two people. When the vehicle left the car wash, police conducted a traffic stop at Miramar and Bay Streets. Howard Gurley was driving, and Dionte Gurley was in the passenger seat and was wearing the same clothing as the suspect in the robberies.
Officers then went back to the car wash where they found a rifle-styled pellet gun that matched the description given by the motel clerks.
Oswalt reported that he interviewed both clerks, including the woman who was working at Quality Inn who told him that she was so scared that she had quit her job.
The two brothers were not immediately interviewed because they were both intoxicated.
On Monday, Oswalt interviewed Howard Gurley, who immediately asked for an attorney, then asked Oswalt what he was going to be charged with. After he was told aggravated robbery, attempted robbery and theft of property, Oswalt said Howard Gurley then said that he did not know that his brother was going to rob the motels. He said he was only driving his brother around because they were trying to get a room.
“At no time during his confession did I elicit a statement,” Oswalt said in the affidavit.
When he interviewed Dionte Gurley, Dionte denied being the person who robbed the motels and said he had not been around the motels at any time.
On Tuesday, Jefferson County District Judge Kim Bridgforth set $35,000 bonds for both Howard Gurley and Dionte Gurley after ruling prosecutors have probable cause to charge them with two counts of aggravated robbery, attempted aggravated robbery and theft of property. The two said they would hire their own attorneys.