Two Arrested After Bogus Tulsa Robbery

Friday, May 15th 2009, 9:15 pm
By: News On 6

By Lori Fullbright, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- Tulsa Police arrested two people who they say stole merchandise and cash from a store, and then told officers it was an armed robbery.  Detectives say these bogus robberies are not only dangerous, but also expensive and the criminals should be forced to pay.

Detectives say the bogus robbery was the brainchild of Tanika Butler, who works at the store and Will Fox, who police say was her partner in crime.

Officers say he's the one who took about $700 worth of merchandise and cash from a Dollar General store on Thursday night.  Investigators say she's the one who then called 911, claiming she was robbed.

"Everybody wants to catch a robber, so the police response is significant whenever a robbery goes out," said Tulsa Police Sgt. Dave Walker.

Police were so quick on the scene; they caught Fox driving away in the car described by witnesses, with the stolen merchandise and cash still on him.

Once the investigation began, officers realized the victim wasn't such a victim, after all.  They say bogus robberies almost always unravel.

"You need to stop. We catch 95% of the bogus robberies we have come in," said Tulsa Police Sgt. Dave Walker.

Records show Fox has been caught over and over again, with various convictions on his record including shoplifting, drugs, using bogus credit cards and hiding stolen property.

Both Fox and Butler now face a charge of embezzlement.  Police say they should be made to pay for more than just what was taken.

"I think we ought to and have done it in the past, use of helicopter, 47 officers at their hourly rate, gas and tack it onto their sentence and make them pay restitution to the city. Has happened in the past and should happen again," said Tulsa Police Sgt. Dave Walker.

Tulsa Police hope that would put a stop to the bogus calls, so officers can spend their time, working the real robberies.

Police say they get about a half-dozen of these bogus robbery calls at businesses a year.  In some cases, the individual lies about a robbery to cover up for a drug deal gone badly or gambling losses.