Details emerge in diner robbery

Raymond Washington

The execution of a search warrant led to the arrest of two suspects in the robbery of Ben’s Diner last weekend, but the Woodstock Police Chief said an earlier search warrant executed at the same residence played a key role in identifying the suspects.

Three men robbed the diner the night of Jan. 6. While two of the accused, Raymond Washington, 28, and Andrew Shoemaker, 18, were caught after a chase and manhunt, the third, Leonard Garris Jr., 28, and an alleged accomplice in the robbery, Andrea Scalf, 43, remained at large for two days until the execution of a search warrant at their apartment at 1284 Ox Road on Jan. 8.

The Woodstock Police Department executed an unrelated search warrant on Dec. 30 at the same address.

According to that warrant, officers were called in after receiving a report of an odor of marijuana coming from the apartment. Upon entering, officers detected the smell coming from the laundry room.

From there, they seized a $1 bill and a pen from the residence as evidence.

Leonard Garris

Woodstock Police Chief Eric Reiley said though the Dec. 30 investigation was unrelated, it proved to be crucial in identifying the suspects.

“The initial search warrant we executed on December 30 was useful and provided information for us that was critical to the identification of these subjects in the diner robbery,” he said.

He added that items seized from the location have been sent to the Virginia Department of Forensic Sciences, and that more charges could come, pending on the results of the lab analysis.

When authorities returned to the apartment Jan. 8 to conduct a search following the robbery, they seized pieces of clothing, shoes and firearm ammunition from the residence.

During his interview, Reiley also released several new pieces of information. According to him, Garris dated and lived with Scalf at the Ox Road apartment. Scalf’s 14 and 17-year-old children lived there as well.

Andrew Shoemaker

Reiley said one of those children was working as a cashier at the diner at the time of the robbery, though there is no reason to believe she was involved in the crime.

Reiley also said several restaurant employees foiled the robbery by barricading themselves in the diner’s back office.

“The accused forced the cashier to the back of the diner and tried to gain entry into the back office,” he said. “After a brief period they panicked and fled. The other employees working at the diner were barricaded in that back office. They locked the door and held the door shut while they were in that back office.”

Louise Garman was working at the restaurant during the robbery. She said she called 911 to report the robbery while two of the younger employees held the door shut from the robbers.

“I dialed 911 right away,” she said. “Someone on the other side of the door kicked the door but the boys were able to hold it intact. They were heroic, no doubt about that.”

Andrea Scalf

Reiley declined to identify which of the accused men brandished the pistol at the diner employees. He said that information will come once the investigation is further along and more accounts are taken and corroborated.

Garman said she’s glad the incident is over without damage.

“It didn’t last long, no one got hurt, no one got any money, and the three guys who did it fled and got picked up,” Garman said. “I think the police did a good job.”

The four accused are being held at the Rappahannock-Shenandoah-Warren Regional Jail. They are scheduled to appear in Shenandoah General District Court for preliminary hearings in February.

Contact staff writer Jake Zuckerman at 540-465-5137 ext. 152, or jzuckerman@nvdaily.com


On the net

For more in-depth coverage of the robbery, see The Northern Virginia Daily’s report from Tuesday at http://tiny.cc/tp1giy.