Police say they believe the teen apprehended for robbing one Alabama Subway restaurant is connected to robberies at three of the chain's other stores, but they're conflicted on their belief in the suspect's claims that he launched the crime spree in response to his failed "Subway Diet."
Zachary Rapheal Torrence, 18, was taken into police custody at a Wal-Mart store after a customer recognized the teen from surveillance footage that had been made public.
After being taken into police custody, Torrence is said to have admitted robbing a Hueytown, Ala., Subway restaurant. Police believe the teen was also behind robberies that occurred earlier in the week at Subway locations in Adamsville, Birmingham and Midfield.
For a motive, Torrence told authorities he robbed the Subway restaurant because its famous "Subway Diet" didn't work for him. The Subway Diet is named after Jared Fogle, a Subway patron that claims he dropped from 425 pounds to 180 pounds by eating only two turkey sandwiches from Subway and walking regularly.
"He told the detective that he had been on the 'Subway Diet' and it had not worked for him and he felt like he wanted his money back," said Hueytown Police Chief Chuck Hagler. "The detective felt like he was being serious."
Hagler said Torrence told them he had been in Wal-Mart in search of a holster for his handgun. A handgun was found in Hagler's vehicle and the weapon appeared to match the one used in the Subway holdups, according to the police chief.
The shopper that identified Torrence contacted the authorities and then followed the teen around the store until police arrived. The Hueytown Police department had been posting surveillance footage of the Subway robberies on the law enforcement agency's Facebook page, which provided the extra eyes needed to help authorities locate a suspect.
"[Torrence] was an exact match for the video, down to the same clothing and shoes," Hagler said of the teen when he was apprehended at the Wal-Mart store.
Police haven't disclosed how much money Torrence is accused to taking by force, but the teenager is being held in the Jefferson County Jail on a bond of $250,000.
"I am confident that he was the [robber] in Birmingham, Midfield and Adamsville," Hagler said. "Those agencies have been contacted and will be moving forward with their investigations."