A quiet stroll in downtown Lawrence turned into a walk on the wild side Tuesday for a 24-year-old McLouth woman.
During a telephone interview today with the Journal-World, the woman, who asked that he name not be used, said she and her boyfriend called police Tuesday evening to Eighth and New Hampshire after seeing the man tuck what looked like a gun into his jacket. She and police discovered after the arrest that the man, Freginald E. Hicks, 22, Lawrence, was carrying a toy pistol.
Police Lt. Ed Brunt said two officers arrived, and Hicks reached for the toy pistol twice. Brunt said one officer who didn't know Hicks' gun wasn't real had drawn his 9mm semiautomatic pistol and ordered Hicks to drop the weapon.
Brunt said that while one officer was talking to Hicks, the other officer grabbed Hicks from behind. No shots were fired, Brunt said, and no one was injured.
Hicks, Brunt said, was questioned about armed robberies Tuesday in Lawrence and Topeka, but was cleared of any connection with the crimes. Hicks was arrested on an Olathe Municipal Court warrant for failing to appear for a hearing. Hicks was being held this morning in the Johnson County jail awaiting a court hearing.
ONE OF THE robberies Hicks was questioned about occurred at 12:23 p.m. Tuesday at a residence at 2900 W. Ninth. Lawrence police reported that an armed man asked to use the telephone at the residence, then demanded money from a 74-year-old man and the man's wife as he was leaving.
Brunt said the robber took $92 in cash, then thanked the couple before he left.
Shawnee County sheriff's Maj. Ken Pierce said this morning that at 1:49 p.m., a man fitting the description of the Lawrence suspect robbed a couple at their home after following them inside.
THE MCLOUTH woman who led police to Hicks said she and her boyfriend had decided to take a walk downtown because "we had nothing to do on a Tuesday night." After seeing Hicks tuck the gun into his jacket at 10th and Massachusetts, she and her boyfriend drove south on Massachusetts and tried to flag down a police officer from their car.
The woman and her boyfriend gave up once they reached 23rd and Louisiana.
"I was like, `Honey, he's gone,'" the woman said. "Then we drove by The Bottleneck (737 N.H.) to see who was playing, and I was like, `There he is.'"
The woman called police from a pay phone, then stayed until after the arrest.
If nothing else, she said, the arrest jazzed up what could have been a boring evening. Maybe too much.
"It proved to be exciting," she said. "We weren't out looking for criminals; we were just out for a walk. We were thinking about taking a walk later, but after that we said, `Uh-uh.'''