A Villages couple with a long criminal history is behind bars in the Marion County Jail after being accused of three minimart robberies – one of which is in The Villages and was hit twice.
Marion County sheriff’s deputies scrambled to the Circle K at 8695 SE 165th Mulberry Lane early Wednesday morning after a robbery was reported at the minimart. When they arrived, they spoke with a clerk who said a 6-foot-tall skinny white man had entered the store wearing a bandana over his lower face, sunglasses, a hoodie and white gloves. The clerk said the man demanded money and cigarettes and said he wasn’t going to hurt them, a sheriff’s office report states.
The clerk indicated she was in fear, devastated and a “nervous wreck,” so she provided the man, later identified as 38-year-old Alan Dean Simmons, of the Village of Rio Ponderosa, with a box of Marlboro cigarettes valued at $68. She said Simmons also yelled at a co-worker who provided him with $69 in cash from the cash register and 10 packs of Newport cigarettes valued at $78. She said he then fled on foot east from the convenience store.
Deputies watched video surveillance of the incident and noted that the Circle K also was robbed on June 14 in the same manner by a man matching Simmons’ description. They also noted that on June 19 the Kwik King minimart at 3620 S.E. Hwy. 484 was robbed by a man with a similar appearance who concealed himself with sunglasses, a black balaclava and a cowboy hat. In that incident, the man was spotting getting into a black Cadillac and fleeing the area, the report says.
At 12:43 a.m. Wednesday, a sheriff’s deputy spotted a black Cadillac in the 17500 block of S. U.S. Hwy. 441 and made a traffic stop. The deputy spoke with the driver, 35-year-old Jessica Loren Hall, and Simmons. A short time later, a sheriff’s K-9 dog alerted on the vehicle and Hall, also of the Village of Rio Ponderosa, was found to be in possession of drugs, the report says.
During a search of the vehicle, deputies located a gray bag containing unopened Newport cigarette boxes and a carton of Marlboro cigarettes. Pants, a two-tone gray-and-black hoodie and white Latex gloves were found that appeared to be those used in the robberies. A cowboy hat and a camouflage bandana like the ones used in the earlier robbery also were located, the report says.
Hall denied owning the drugs and initially said she had picked up Simmons from the Dollar General store on County Road 42. She eventually admitted to picking him up after he committed the three robberies but refused to provide further details to avoid “incriminating” herself. When told she was being charged in connection with the robberies, she responded: “Well, I feel like I wasn’t involved in them. I mean, picking him up, yes, I was wrong for that. But as far as planning and all that crap that you said, no,” the report says.
Simmons refused to speak with deputies and asked for legal counsel. He and Hall, who both live in the 400 block of San Marino Drive in The Villages, were then transported to the Marion County jail.
Hall was charged with possession of methamphetamine, possession of drug equipment, possession of a controlled substance without a prescription, possession of heroin and three counts of robbery without a firearm or weapon. She was being held on $37,000 bond and her next court date hasn’t yet been set, jail records show.
Simmons was charged with three counts of robbery without a firearm or weapon. He was being held on $30,000 bond and his next court date also hasn’t yet been set.
Neither Hall nor Simpson are strangers to the legal system. In March, they were jailed after an alleged attack when paying an unwelcome visit to a home in The Villages. Simmons in 2018 had been sentenced to prison time after an arrest in the theft of a golf cart. While free on bond in that case, he was arrested after he was caught selling drugs at a notoriously troubled home in the Village of Palo Alto and at Tierra Del Sol Bar & Grill.
After one arrest at Wal-Mart at Buffalo Ridge Plaza in The Villages, Hall admitted that she had been stealing from the store “almost on a daily basis” to support her drug habit.