A man suspected of shoplifting from Scheels and then pointing a handgun at an employee was arrested on Friday night in Billings after he was discovered hiding in the restroom of a Popeyes across the street, according to the Billings Police Department.
The man, identified as Jacob Gore, surrendered peacefully, according to BPD Sgt. Clyde Reid.
Reid said that at about 7:50 p.m., Gore was caught shoplifting at the Scheels at 1121 Shiloh Crossing Blvd. by loss prevention employees.
As he was led to the back of Scheels, Gore pulled out a semiautomatic handgun, pointed it at an employee, then ran outside.
Reid said Gore ran across the parking lot and road and into the Popeye's. He then hid in the Popeyes restroom.
Yellowstone County Sheriff's Office deputies were nearby and quickly secured a perimeter and got employees and customers out, according to Reid. Gore exited the restroom and surrendered unarmed to a BPD negotiator after spending at least 5 minutes in the restroom, Reid said.
The handgun was found hidden inside a paper towel dispenser and it has since been identified as stolen, Reid said.
Reid said Gore stole "miscellaneous items," from Scheels including several energy bars and a gun holster.
Gore was arrested on suspicion of robbery and assault with a weapon and booked into the Yellowstone County Detention Facility, Reid said.
Matthew Colebank, one of the restaurant's owners, praised the work of BPD. "The Billings Police Department did a great job," Colebank said. "I just want to give them a big 'thank you' from the Popeyes crew."
Colebank guessed that more than 20 customers were inside the fast food restaurant when the man entered and went into the bathroom.
The fast food restaurant specializing in fried chicken opened on Dec. 16 and its official grand opening is scheduled for Saturday, Colebank said.
The restaurant reopened after police finished clearing the building and Colebank said they would be open as scheduled on Saturday.