Alleged robbers might have picked a bad time to pull of their crime in Sweetwater on May 15 just minutes after dozens of officers were in town for the annual Police Memorial.

On Wednesday, May 15, at approximately 1 p.m., Sweetwater Police officers responded to a dispatch of an armed robbery that had just occurred in the city, investigators said.

Officers were advised that two men had just robbed a man in the Duck Park in downtown Sweetwater. The alleged victim stated that one man pointed a black pistol at him, taking various personal items. The victim stated the two men were in a silver Honda CRV, which turned south on Main Street. Officers made contact with that vehicle and the two men moments later at the Highway 11 and Highway 68 intersection, taking both into men into custody.

A search of the Honda turned up a black pistol that matched the description given by the alleged victim, along with the victim’s personal property. Also found in the vehicle was a small amount of a green leafy substance and two glass smoking pipes with residue, police said. Charged with aggravated robbery, possession of marijuana, driving on suspended license, and possession of drug paraphernalia is Clifford (Rocky) Howard, age 39, of Monroe County.

The passenger is identified as Joseph Ray Burgess, age 40, from McMinn County. A small baggie containing a crystal-like substance was allegedly found in his wallet. Police said Burgess stated that the substance was meth. He is charged with possession of schedule II methamphetamine. Both men were transported to Monroe County Sheriff’s Office without incident.

The alleged robbery happened about a half hour after several dozen police officers were just across the street from the Duck Park for the annual Police Memorial. The event each May honors local officers killed in the line of duty as part of a national observance.

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