Man With Prior Robberies Charged In Jewelry Burglary

Wednesday, August 14, 2013
Darien Blake Clay
Darien Blake Clay

A 20-year-old on bond for aggravated robbery has been charged in a burglary case after the owner of the store said he recognized him from a video of the break-in.

Darien Blake Clay, 20, is charged with aggravated burglary, burglary, two counts of theft and two counts of vandalism.

The front door glass was busted out using a rock at the I-Specialize Store on Brainerd Road. A locked wooden door leading to the electronics was also broken through.

The thieves got away with over $10,000 in electronics.

Gary Ibarguen, owner, said when he watched the video he recognized Clay, though he was wearing a white hoodie with a covering over his face. He said Clay had been in the store before. The owner said he recognized him by his voice and by a tattoo.

He said he had Clay's phone number and he called him, saying he knew he had burglarized the business. He said he told Clay that if he returned all the items, he would not prosecute.

The owner said Clay agreed and he returned some of the items that afternoon. He said he would bring back the rest later. He said Clay later said he still would bring back some of the items and give him money for others than he could not get back. However, he said Clay did not bring any more items.

Police pulled a copy of Clay's jail photo from June 2012 and it showed a tattoo that appeared to be the same as that on the burglar in the video.

Clay was one of four youths charged with a robbery in Ooltewah in March 2012 in which two of the robbers were armed with handguns.

Sheriff deputies were called to 5409 Mulberry St. on a reported robbery.  When deputies arrived on the scene, victims Alan Benjamin, 19; Daniel Smith, 18, and Lucas Braden, 18, said they had been robbed. The victims told deputies they were sitting in a vehicle parked in front of 5409 Mulberry when they noticed a four-door white vehicle drive past.

The car proceeded to the dead end, then backed up before stopping at the rear of their vehicle. Five males exited the vehicle, approached and ordered the occupants to get out of their vehicle.   The victims said two of the robbers had black handguns.  The weapons were pointed at the victims, who were ordered to drop their pants and hand over their wallets and cell phones. 

The suspects also searched through the victims' car, taking a car stereo before leaving the scene.

The victims advised deputies they could identify four of the suspects - Jacob "Cody" Chase, 18; Johnny Myrick, 21; Darien Clay, 19, and  James Amaud Taylor, 20.  They were located at the residence of Cody Chase at 5204 Village Garden Dr.

All four were taken into custody and charged with especially aggravated robbery.  The weapons were located and described as two black pellet guns.  The fifth suspect has not been identified at this time.

Clay was also arrested in March of 2011 with another man after police said they broke into Tennessee Title Loans on Highway 58 to steal gas money. Police said Clay and Dejuan Davis hid outside the office until closing time. Officers said Clay approached employees with a gun and demanded money. Police said they took $150 and credit cards.



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