A man suspected of robbing two Branson Wal-Marts Friday is in custody after Greene County law enforcement found him in Springfield.
Jake Tyler Kemp, 19, of Springfield, is facing two counts of first-degree robbery as a result of the robberies that took place approximately 12 hours apart this past Friday.
According to a probable cause statement, Kemp entered the Branson Hills Wal-Mart at approximately 2:30 a.m. He showed a cashier a black semi-automatic handgun and demanded cash and a carton of cigarettes. He left after the clerk complied with his demands.
Twelve hours later, Kemp carried out the same technique at Wal-Mart on 76 Country Boulevard, according to police documents. Again, he was given cash after he displayed the handgun, police reported.
Kemp was identified through surveillance cameras and other investigative means, police documents state.
When police found the suspect’s vehicle, the handgun was found inside. The handgun, which closely resembled a real firearm, was a stage prop commonly used in theater, police documents show.
Branson Assistant Police Chief Stan Dobbins said this is a first for the city of Branson. He did note, however, robberies like these are not an uncommon occurrence elsewhere in the country.
“I’ve never had a Wal-Mart robbed, but utilizing toy guns or blank guns was not uncommon,” he said.
The amount of money taken is undisclosed.
According to Missouri court records, Kemp is currently facing two counts of first-degree robbery, class A felonies, but Dobbins said the potential for additional charges is there.
“It’s still considered armed criminal action because he indicated it was an actual weapon, so he still could be charged with that,” Dobbins said.
According to the city of Branson, Kemp is currently being held in the Hickory County Detention Facility without bond on a probation violation.
Greene County Sheriff’s Office personnel said Kemp was released Saturday morning to Hickory County.