If what police say is true, a Spanish Fort robbery suspect has seen a recent run of bad luck.

According to the Mobile County Sheriff’s Office, Donald Ray Reed Jr., 43, of Spanish Fort, failed to rob two consecutive gas stations on Tuesday evening before making a lengthy but ultimately unsuccessful attempt to hide from police in the woods.

Police say Reed then had a would-be escape attempt thwarted when deputies caught him trying to sneak into an air conditioning vent in the interview room where he was questioned.

Reed was arrested Tuesday after police identified him as a suspect in two botched robberies reported on Dec. 4 in western Mobile County. According to an MCSO press release, the stores were located on Old Pascagoula Road and Rangeline Road, respectively.

Police say robbery suspect Donald Ray Reed Jr., 43, of Spanish Fort, was caught trying to escape through an air vent on Dec. 6, 2018. (MCSO)


A witness at the first store told investigators that Reed pulled out a knife and demanded money from the clerk shortly after he entered the building. However, he’s said to have fled the scene empty-handed after an alarm sounded in the store.

It’s believed Reed then drove to a second gas station, where he allegedly demanded money from another store clerk while holding a knife in his hand. Police say that the clerk refused to comply with Reed’s demands, and he eventually left that store without taking anything as well. 

However, security cameras there captured the truck Reed was driving —  a green GMC Sierra that police say was recently reported stolen out of Mobile. On Wednesday night, the same truck led Bayou la Batre police officers on a brief pursuit after it was spotted in the Irvington area.

At some point, police say Reed “bailed on foot” near Magnolia Road, and K-9 units were called in to establish a perimeter around the wooded area Reed was last seen heading into.

After several hours, MCSO received information about a suspicious person in the area and was able to identify and capture Reed without incident. He’s now facing two counts of first-degree robbery as well as additional charges for theft of property and an attempted escape.

According to records with the Mobile County Metro Jail, Reed has dozens of previous arrests in the area dating back as far as 1996.