A cellphone that was left behind after a robbery led police to the suspect, according to Hamilton County court records.
Jamall Rashad Thomas, 28, is accused of robbing a Family Dollar store, located at 6901 Lee Highway, at gunpoint on June 13, court records show.
Chattanooga police were called to the scene around 10 p.m. where a store employee told them he was in the process of removing money from the cash register when he realized a man wearing a black ski mask was standing next to him with a gun to next to his head.
The suspect, later identified as Thomas, demanded the employee to hand over all the money and empty the register, court records state.
The employee told police Thomas fled through a wooded area behind the store. Another employee pointed police to where he saw Thomas drop a cellphone.
Robbery investigators found the phone, which was still on and the screen illuminated, court records show.
The phone was preserved for evidence, and a search warrant was obtained to determine who was the owner of the phone, court records state. That's how police identified Thomas, who matched the description given by store employees. Police then investigated further to make sure no one else could have been using the phone.
"There was no other evidence indicating that another person has used this phone number or reported it stolen during the time period," court records state.
Thomas was arrested on Aug. 6 after he was reported to have "snuck into Brainerd Baptist Church," located at 300 Brookfield Ave., by an off-duty police officer who spotted him.