Lafayette police chopped a hole into the attic of a Romney Meadows apartment and piped in tear gas to persuade a robbery suspect to come out, ultimately arresting him a little after 9 a.m. Friday.

Lt. Matt Gard said later in the day that police took a call at 4:09 a.m. Friday of an armed robbery at McDonalds, 2333 Sagamore Parkway S. in Lafayette. Police were told a suspect had pulled up to the drive-through window and demanded the money from the register while displaying a handgun. The suspect then allegedly reached through the window and took money from the register.

Security footage from the business allowed police and employees to identify the suspect as former employee Nicholas Bates, according to police. Bates had quit shortly before 2:50 a.m. Friday, when police were called to speak to Bates after he caused a disturbance in the business.

After the reported robbery, officers went to 3008 Phipps Court to attempt to find Bates. Police said the vehicle used at the time of the theft was found nearby.

Officers spoke with a resident in the apartment who was identified as Regina Lewis and asked to speak with Bates. This attempt was not successful, so officers obtained a search warrant for the apartment.

The Lafayette SWAT team was called to serve the warrant, and some occupants of the apartment - Lewis, her two young children and her 15-year-old sibling - came out, but Bates refused to exit.

Three SWAT officers climbed onto the roof, chopped a hole into the side of the building and piped in smoke.

A SWAT officer could be heard yelling into the hole in the building a short time later, "You go downstairs, or we'll put more in the attic!" 

A man - later identified as Bates - came out a short time later and was handcuffed and walked to a waiting police car, where EMS workers appeared to attend to him.

Detectives interviewed all of the people involved in the reported robbery, police said. Police said the employee who initially reported the robbery, Jamarkis Hackett, 20, was arrested on a charge of false informing after it was determined that no weapon was used, and the incident was not a robbery after all. Hackett and Bates were co-workers at the business, police said.

Bates, 22, was arrested on charges of theft, trespassing and resisting law enforcement. The trespassing arrest resulted from a previous trespass warning issued against him for the apartment complex where he was found Friday morning.

Lewis, 19, was arrested on a charge of assisting a criminal. The children in the apartment were all turned over to a relative, police said.

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