A man accused of robbing two stores at the end of December was bound over for trial in Natrona County District Court on Tuesday.

Natrona County Circuit Court Judge Steve Brown agreed after an hour-long preliminary hearing that the district attorney's office showed probable cause that Levar Ellis Thompson, 40, robbed two businesses in separate incidents.

During the hearing, Assistant District Attorney Dan Itzen questioned the lead detective Adrian White, who outlined the investigation, the reviews of the videos from both businesses, interviews of witnesses and confidential informants, and an interview of Thompson.

At the end of the hearing, public defender Curtis Cheney asked the judge to bind over only one robbery charge, saying the detective's affidavit focused on the Big D robbery on Dec. 31, and only made passing reference to the Hot Wings robbery on Dec. 29.

Cheney also asked Brown to lower Thompson's bond from $250,000 to $50,000. Thompson probably would not be able to post a $50,000 cash or surety bond, but it would give him some hope, Cheney said.

But Brown denied the requests, saying Thompson faces two aggravated robbery charges and a possible additional count of being an habitual criminal.

During the hearing, White said he another detective responded Dec. 31 to the robbery at Big D, 1232 E. 12th St., where a black male entered the store, pulled out a gun and robbed the clerk at gunpoint.

According to court documents, surveillance footage shows the suspect brandishing a black pistol, which looked like a Beretta, to the clerk, with the clerk then placing an unknown amount of money into the suspect's white mesh laundry bag.

Using tips from Crimestoppers, a detective compiled a list of people who matched the description of the suspect. Thompson was identified as a suspect.

White said the surveillance video of that incident led to a review of the video during the robbery of Wyoming Hot Wings, 1821 E. 12th St., two days earlier.

He found similarities in the two incidents including clothing, the weapon, and the suspect's mannerisms.

On Jan. 21, White approached as he was leaving the Ramkota hotel. Thompson was driving away from the hotel in a passenger car with Colorado license plates.

White said the owner of the car had recently befriended Thompson, and the two had traveled to Gillette and were on their way to Colorado when bad weather forced them to stay in Casper. The owner of the car did not know about the robberies.

White said Thompson was taken to the Casper Police Department without incident.

The person who had rented the Chevrolet gave police permission to search the vehicle and remove Thompson's property, which was inside the car.

A search of the car turned up a white mesh laundry bag, which contained a black mask, a black semi-automatic airsoft gun that looked identical to a Beretta, and clothing similar to that worn by the suspect seen in surveillance video.

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