Lawrence Police officials said one of the men inquired about room rates at the hotel Friday evening.
Later, at 9 p.m., another man went inside the lobby and asked the clerk for change, said Det. M. T. Brown. When the clerk -- identified as a young man -- opened the cash register, the man reportedly produced a handgun, demanded money and fled.
No other employees or guests were in the lobby.
After the clerk placed a 911 call, police launched a search based on the clerk's description of the men and witnesses' descriptions of cars leaving the parking lot at the time.
Douglas County Sheriff's deputies stopped a Mercury Sable headed west on U.S. Highway 40 just outside the city limit based on "a conglomeration of descriptions and the behavior of the drivers," Brown said.
"The money recovered from each of the individuals arrested added up to the sum taken, which helped our case," he added, but he could not disclose the amount.
- A 33-year-old was booked at 3:06 a.m. Saturday in the Douglas County Jail and held on suspicion of aggravated robbery.
- A 28-year-old was booked at 4:20 a.m. Saturday and held on suspicion of aiding a felon, conspiracy to commit aggravated robbery and possession of stolen property.
- A 43-year-old was booked at 4:33 a.m. Saturday and held on suspicion of aiding a felon, conspiracy to commit aggravated robbery and possession of stolen property.
- A 29-year-old was booked at 5:39 a.m. Saturday and held on suspicion of aiding and abetting and possession of stolen property.
According to police, the men said they threw the gun out the window of their car while driving on Sixth Street near Rockledge Road. Police had not recovered the gun Saturday night.
"Someone may have found it and not turned it in," Sgt. Dave Hubbel said. "That scares me."
He added that hotels like the Virginia Inn are susceptible to robberies because of their location on the highway.
"It's right there on Sixth Street, or Highway 40, so it gets you out of town real quick," Hubbel said.
Brown said the robbery investigation was successful because Lawrence detectives and patrol officers collaborated with the Douglas County Sheriff's Department.
"It was a big, cooperative effort," he said. "One without the other, and (the arrests) wouldn't have happened."
A hearing date for the suspects had not been set Saturday.
-- Staff writer Stephanie Paterik can be reached at 832-7187.