Martin, 68, was working at Sonny’s Place in Henderson when, at closing time, she told two patrons it was time to leave, according to the criminal complaint filed in Mason County Magistrate Court.
One of those patrons was allegedly Richard E. Ellis, 26, of Gallipolis, Ohio, and he and the other customer left Sonny’s Place when Martin locked the door.
Martin told deputies with the Mason County Sheriff’s Department that she put the day’s money inside the safe, locked it and was getting ready to go outside to start her car when Ellis allegedly burst through the door with the sledgehammer and brandishing the knife.
The complaint states that Martin said Ellis grabbed her and pushed her toward the bar and ordered her to open the safe and hand him the money.
Not knowing the combination to the safe, Martin was unable to open it. A short time later, Ellis left the establishment and Martin called 911.
Sgt. Robbie Fruth of the Mason County Sheriff’s Department responded. As Fruth began his investigation, Ellis apparently passed Senior Deputy Robert Glenn and Point Pleasant Police Sgt. Bryan Morrow, who were on their way to assist Fruth, as he was pulling onto Chestnut Street from Redmond Ridge Road, and Glenn pulled him over. The complaint stated that the sledgehammer, knife and mask that may have been used in the attempted robbery were found inside the vehicle.
Ellis was taken into custody by Fruth, Glenn and Deputy Curtis Jones on a charge of attempted armed robbery. He was taken to the Western Regional Jail in Barboursville for holding and to await arraignment.
He appeared before Magistrate Cheryl Ross on Monday via video conferencing. Ross set bond at $50,000.
A separate incident also has law enforcement officers searching for a person who allegedly tried to rob a video lottery establishment. Members of the Winfield Detachment of the West Virginia State Police are looking for a Mason County woman who tried to rob a video lottery store in Teays Valley with a ball point pen.
According to a news release from the state police, on Jan. 29 Cpl. J.P. Murphy Jr. responded to an attempted robbery complaint at the Boomtown 11 Cafe (Video Lottery Parlor) in Teays Valley.
A female employee reported that a white female entered the business, brandished a ball point pen and demanded that the safe be opened. The employee was able to forcibly remove the suspect from the premises.
The suspect later was identified as Pamela Marie Payton, 45, of Leon, who troopers currently are unable to locate.
As a result of Murphy’s investigation, a warrant will be obtained through the Putnam County Prosecutor’s Office for one felony count of attempted armed robbery in the first degree.
Anyone with information may call Murphy at the Winfield Detachment at 304-586-2000.