CLAY COUNTY (KFDX/KJTL) — New information has been obtained regarding the aggravated robbery of the Jolly Truck Stop on Thanksgiving Day committed by a man who is also accused of assaulting a female employee during her shift a few weeks prior.
Ivan Ayala, 37, was taken into custody by deputies with the Clay County Sheriff’s Office on Wednesday, November 30, 2022. At last check of the Clay County Jail inmate roster, he remains behind bars on bonds totaling $60,000.
The KFDX/KJTL newsroom was able to obtain copies of the arrest affidavits on the charges against Ayala from Clay County via an open records request.
According to authorities, CCSO deputies were dispatched to the Jolly Truck Stop on Thursday, November 24, 2022, at around 4:15 a.m. in reference to a robbery. When they arrived on the scene, deputies made contact with the clerk.
The arrest affidavit said the clerk told deputies a male who he knew and positively identified as Ayala entered the store pointing a shiny revolver pistol at him and demanding the money from the register.
The clerk told deputies he complied after Ayala shot the ground near his leg, and he handed Ayala $593.38 that he took from the register. The clerk said Ayala then fled the scene on foot.
Just before 6 p.m. on Wednesday, November 30, Clay County Sheriff Jeff Lyde posted a live update on the Clay County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page. He said deputies had taken Ayala into custody on three warrants, one of which was for the charge of aggravated robbery.
Sheriff Lyde said deputies were able to recover the money taken from the cash register as well as the gun that was used during the robbery.
At the time the robbery was committed on Thanksgiving Day, Ayala was at large on two separate charges stemming from an incident that also took place at the Jolly Truck Stop earlier in November.
In that incident, which occurred on November 7, 2022, Ayala was charged with assault of a family member by impeding breath and interference with an emergency request for assistance.
Clay County deputies were dispatched to the Jolly Truck Stop on Monday, November 7, just before midnight, in reference to a disturbance.
According to the affidavit, deputies made contact with the victim, who advised she did not speak English and that her boss was on the way to translate for her. The victim’s boss arrived at the scene a short time later.
Deputies said the victim’s boss translated for them, and the victim said while she was working at the restaurant inside of the Jolly Truck Stop, her husband, Ayala, began to assault her. She said Ayala pushed her, then put his arm around her neck in an attempt to put her in a chokehold.
The deputy said he observed several visible marks on the victim’s neck, which appeared to be fresh. The deputy also said he observed fresh abrasions on the victim’s arms. The victim told authorities the bruises were from a few days prior.
When the deputy asked the victim if she had attempted to call 911 at any point during the assault, the victim told him she tried to before Ayala took her phone away. Ayala was no longer on the scene when authorities arrived.
Arrest warrants for Ayala stemming from the November 7 incident were signed by a Clay County judge on November 16, 2022, eight days before the armed robbery took place.
In all, Ayala faces charges of aggravated robbery, assault, and interference with an emergency request. His bonds total $62,500.
The same day Ayala was taken into custody, the Clay County Sheriff’s Office posted a letter from the owner of the Jolly Truck Stop. The letter was written as a letter to the editor of the Clay County Leader, and at the time it was posted on the CCSO Facebook page, it had yet to be published in the Clay County Leader.
In the letter, the author alleges a female employee was “beat up real bad by her husband” on November 7, referencing the incident that occurred at the Jolly Truck Stop, and that authorities were unhelpful.
The author alleges Sheriff Lyde refused to take his telephone calls, and the victim was never given a case number. The author also alleges that the suspect of the November 7 assault at the truck stop had broken into a trailer home on November 9 and kept the victim of that assault hostage.
There is no report of the alleged breaking and entering and hostage allegations made in the letter.
Sheriff Lyde responded to many complaints addressed by the letter and said since the November 7 assault did not happen in the presence of a deputy, nor was it witnessed, deputies were required to obtain arrest warrants before apprehending Ayala.