Fellsmere suspect arrested in Sebastian Papa John’s armed robbery

A 17-year-old teenager was arrested in connection with the Sebastian Papa John's robbery in Fellsmere, Florida.
A 17-year-old teenager was arrested in connection with the Sebastian Papa John's robbery in Fellsmere, Florida.

A 17-year-old male suspect was arrested in connection to an armed robbery involving a Papa John’s pizza delivery person, according to the Fellsmere Police Department.

Police received two leads in the case following the incident that took place last week when a man held a Sebastian Papa John’s employee with a shotgun. The pizza employee was identified as William Wharton.

The suspect demanded money and the pizza before fleeing the scene at the 10040 block of Esperanza Circle.

Wharton was delivering pizza in the area when he was approached “from the back” by the armed suspect who “racked a round in a shotgun” and told him to “give me all the money and the pizza.”

The first lead in the case came during the preliminary investigation when investigators determined that a false name was used to place the pizza order Wharton was delivering. The telephone call to place the order, however, was done through a telephone App called “TextMe.”

A subpoena issued for the subscriber information revealed that the app was downloaded to a telephone owned by “Noel” Montiel and that a call to Papa John’s was placed from his telephone.

On Monday, the Fellsmere Police Department received a second lead from a juvenile witness regarding the identity of the robbery suspect.

The witness said that they had a conversation with “Noe” Montiel earlier during the day of the robbery. During their conversation with Montiel, the witness learned that Montiel was planning a robbery because he “needed money.” He specifically told the witness that he was going to “wait for someone and rob them, but he didn’t know if he was going to beat them up or kill them.”

The witness also provided information regarding how Montiel made a “ski mask” out of a regular knit cap and where he hid the shotgun used during the commission of the crime.

Based on the information provided, officers were able to retrieve the shotgun and secure it as evidence.

Based on the testimony provided by the witness and the subpoena information received from “TextMe,” officers had probable cause to arrest Noe Montiel Jr., age 17, of 10023 Esperanza Circle, Apartment 1 for robbery with a firearm and wearing a mask while committing an offense.

“We are grateful for the witness who came forward in this case. While the
subpoena provided valuable information, this witness was key in solving this case and could have very likely prevented additional crimes from occurring,” Fellsmere Police Chief Keith M. Touchberry said in a statement.

A search for Montiel was conducted around 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, August 14th, and he was found sitting on a staircase at a nearby apartment complex in Fellsmere. He was taken into custody without incident and transported to the Fellsmere Police Department for an interview.

During that interview, Montiel admitted to owning the shotgun that was found by officers and admitted to having the weapon in his possession the day of the robbery as stated by the witness.

Police said Montiel denied making the ski mask and committing the robbery and said he did not have his phone in his possession when the delivery driver was robbed.

This is still an active investigation and no further information can be released at this time.

DISCLAIMER: Arrests and mugshots were made public by complaint affidavits, arrest affidavits, and police reports. All persons arrested are innocent until proven guilty.

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About Andy Hodges
Andy Hodges was born in Annapolis, Maryland and raised in Jupiter, Florida. Andy has been a radio & TV personality since the 1980s. He has worked for WLIZ, WFLX-FOX 29, WIRK, WIXI, WKSY, WRMF, and WJNO to name a few. After spending 7 years in Atlanta, Georgia during the 1990s, Andy returned to Florida and settled in the small town of Sebastian in 2000. In 2005, he returned to the broadcasting news sector and eventually joined our news team in 2016 as editor in chief. Andy's family has lived in Sebastian for more than 45 years.