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Police: Robbery crew may be tied to Gwinnett crimes

LAWRENCEVILLE - Five teens caught red-handed violently robbing a Chinese restaurant in Winder have been fingered in as many as six similar crimes in Gwinnett County, police said Monday.

Gwinnett police investigating a string of robberies set up surveillance and trailed the teens Friday evening as they drove a PT Cruiser to the China Wok restaurant in a Winder shopping center. When the bandanna-clad suspects entered the back door of the restaurant about 10 p.m., police swarmed in the front; when they retreated out the back door, a waiting officer opened fire, hitting one teen in the shoulder who'd made an "aggressive move" toward the officer with a baseball bat, police said.

The suspects - Kenneth Ketcham and Maurice Bonar, both age 17 from Auburn, Donavan Green, 17, of Lawrenceville, Jonathan Manning, 18, of Dacula, and an unnamed juvenile - were denied bond Monday at the Barrow County Detention Center, officials said.

Ketcham, who was shot, was treated and released from an area hospital Sunday, Winder police spokesman Capt. Dennis Dorsey said.

A female restaurant employee, who was struck with the baseball bat during the fracas, was not seriously injured, Dorsey said.

Following interviews, Gwinnett police spokesman Cpl. David Schiralli said investigators believe the teens are behind three to six more violent robberies in Gwinnett, though he couldn't specify which incidents they're suspected in.

Investigators hope to secure warrants for the past crimes this week, Schiralli said.

The unnamed officer who shot Ketcham remains on standard administrative leave, pending an investigation of the shooting by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

The teens' alleged modus operandi appears to fit at least two armed robberies reported this year by the Daily Post:

On Feb. 20, four bandanna-wearing men robbed the Sushikita Japanese restaurant on Peachtree Industrial Boulevard with guns and a "bat-like object" after 10 p.m. closing time, bashing an employee who didn't speak fluent English, according to Suwanee police.

Dorsey said investigators with Suwanee police are trying to determine if the robberies are linked.

Four days later in Dacula, a pizza delivery man was attacked and brutally beaten just after midnight by three bandanna-cloaked assailants wielding a baseball bat and gun at a Domino's restaurant, police said.

In that robbery, the bandits reportedly made off with only a meager take - two pizzas.