On Thursday, May 9, 2019 at approximately 5:50 p.m., Hendry County Sheriff’s Office received a call from American Advanced, located at 51 South Lee St., Unit #6, LaBelle, a check cashing and payday loan center, reporting they had just been robbed. The caller went on to say a person entered the store and demanded all the cash then left. No one was injured.
When Deputies arrived on scene they found both employees safe. When Investigators began looking into the crime, they were aware that two other American Advanced centers had been robbed in Lee County. Investigators had received through information shared by Lee County, that this was possibly the same individual and there were a great deal of similarities between this robbery and the others in Lee County.
On May 11, 2019, Hendry County Investigators were notified by Lee County Sheriff’s Office that a Search Warrant had been conducted in Lehigh Acres and that they had taken the suspect John Wayne Ballester, 52 years of age into custody. They did locate and remove the clothing Ballester had worn during the Robbery in LaBelle.
Ballester was arrested on several charges resulting from crimes committed in Lee County. Ballester was taken into custody and is currently being held in Lee County Jail. Hendry County Investigators have also filed charges of Robbery, Aggravated Assault, and Grand Theft.
Ballester is currently being held on $150,000 bond.