According to Chickamauga police chief Michael Haney:
Michael Dewayne Laster, 47, of 52 Coke Oven Road, has been charged with armed robbery.
Laster robbed a Chickamauga man, who is wheelchair-bound, at the walking trail on Coke Oven Road in Chickamauga on June 20. The victim willingly gave the robber — who told him he had a knife and threatened to cut his throat — a $100 bill.
Laster was arrested the next day.
“Mr. Laster has been arrested numerous time by Chickamauga and Walker County, from shoplifting to thefts and other crimes, but never to this extreme,” Haney said. “He is a repeat offender. I think it is sad that a full-grown man who is very well capable of working a job like anyone else would stoop so low as to rob anyone, especially a person who is handicapped in a wheelchair. It is clear that the (victim) had no other option than to cooperate with Mr. Laster.
“This is a good city and although we do have crime like any other cities, I feel that our crime rate is very low for the area. The Chickamauga Police department works hard to try and keep it that way. This is an unfortunate incident. … I think the (victim) did just what he needed to do to keep from being possibly harmed by the aggressor, and the Chickamauga officer quickly responded and investigated the case and was able to obtain warrants for Mr. Laster, and he was arrested. Hopefully Mr. Laster will be put away for a long time.”
Details of the crime
The victim said he was traveling on the walking trail next to the coke ovens in his Hoveround wheelchair when the robber approached him and made small talk.
The robber said his mother lived in the mobile home and pointed toward his mother's residence, located at 52 Coke Oven Road. The victim said saw a woman standing on the front porch of the mobile home.
The woman waved and the two continued along Coke Oven Road toward the stop sign at Ga. 341.
The robber was looking at the victim’s wallet, which was between his legs and partially under his buttocks.
The robber stopped at the sign with the victim and said, "Are you disabled?" The victim said he was.
The robber put his left hand into his front pocket and said, "I have a knife and I will cut your throat if you don't give me your money."
The victim said he had a $100 bill and removed it from his wallet and gave it to the robber in fear that he would be killed.
The victim said the robber ran north on Ga. 341 and jumped into the passenger seat of a small white four-door vehicle, possibly a Toyota.
The victim went to the robber’s mother's mobile home for help. The robber’s mother told him to call the police because she could not make her son return the money.
Authorities spoke with the robber’s mother and she said that she saw her son approach the victim in the wheelchair and then they turned toward her and she waved at them.
She said her son followed the victim to Coke Oven Road and she lost sight of them from there.
The mother said the victim said her son had just robbed him and he needed her help because that was all the money he had from his disability check. The mother told him to call the police and said she had no doubt that her son robbed the victim because “he does bad things all the time” and had stolen $300 from her as well.
The mother asked that her son be picked up before “he steals more and runs across someone that will kill him.”
Laster was arrested June 21 on Five Points Road at Ga. 341 by Chickamauga police officer Kenneth Evans and was taken to the Walker County jail.