May 18, 2009
For more information, please contact
Michael Guest at (601) 825-1472
Madison and Rankin Counties’ District Attorney Michael Guest announced today that a Madison County jury found Walter Tard guilty of the armed robbery of the Drury Inn in Ridgeland.
Guest stated, “Walter Tard is a dangerous individual who has no respect for the law. Robbery with a weapon is always a dangerous act that could have resulted in the injury or death of the victim and innocent bystanders. The safety of the guests and employees at the Drury Inn were placed in jeopardy by Tard’s actions.”
On January 5, 2007, the Ridgeland Police Department responded to the Drury Inn regarding a man entering the lobby, where he approached the clerk and first asked for the restroom, but then passed the desk clerk a note demanding $5,000 in $100 and $20 bills. Tard then raised his shirt and the clerk observed that he had a gun. The clerk responded that she did not have that much money and Tard demanded that she give him what she had. Tard stole $92.
The clerk immediately contacted the police and she was able to provide law enforcement officials with a general description of Tard and gave them the note that Tard handed her during the robbery. That note was an important piece of evidence, as Tard had written it on the bottom half of a job application to an auto parts store. Law enforcement then went to the store whose application had been used as the robbery note and developed several individuals including, Tard, as possible suspects. During the investigation, it was discovered that the Jackson Police Department had Tard in jail for the armed robbery of a hotel in Jackson.
The Ridgeland Police Department retrieved the Jackson booking photo and used it in a photo lineup. Tard was identified by the victim as the person who robbed the Drury Inn. At trial the victim again identified Tard as the individual who robbed her.
Guest added, “Walter Tard will spend years and years behind bars because he made a terrible decision to place the lives of innocent people in danger to steal $92.”
Guest concluded, “This case was solved by the hard work of the Ridgeland Police Department and I cannot say enough about the job that they did. This investigation spanned two jurisdictions and because of this conviction the citizens of both Madison and Hinds County are now safer. This case is an example of the results that can be achieved when law enforcement agencies work together.”
Sentencing is scheduled for June 8, 2009, in Madison County Circuit Court.