Two men, including a former NFL football player, were arrested and charged with robbing an AT&T store on Thornton Road last Wednesday, Aug. 9.

Quanterus R. Smith, 27, of Lithonia, and Brandon Byse, 22, of Atlanta, were arrested Wednesday evening by the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, according to Sgt. Jesse Hambrick.

Smith was charged with armed robbery, felony fleeing and attempting to elude, misdemeanor theft by receiving and possession of a handgun during the commission of a felony. Byse was charged with armed robbery.

Bond was denied for both Smith and Byse during their initial court appearances.

Smith played high school football and basketball at Grayson High in Loganville and college football at Western Kentucky. He was drafted in the fifth round by the Denver Broncos in 2013 as a defensive end. The Broncos placed him on injured reserve with an ACL injury shortly after signing him and waived him two years later. He spent time on the practice squads of the New York Jets and Jacksonville Jaguars and most recently signed with the Detroit Lions in July of 2016 before being released a month later.

Hambrick said Smith and Byse entered the AT&T store located at 570 Thornton Rd. Suite 100 in Lithia Springs, armed with a handgun and demanded money and Apple brand merchandise on Wednesday at approximately 5:45 p.m.

Both U.S. currency and merchandise were given to the two men and they left the location shortly after, Hambrick said. A lookout was provided on the suspect’s vehicle, which included the description of the vehicle and the fact that it displayed a large Atlanta Falcons logo on the back.

At approximately 6:05 p.m., Dep. M. Manson with the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office located a vehicle matching that description on Maxham Road just off Thornton Road in the area of the armed robbery. Manson identified the vehicle further as a white 2013 Kia Rio displaying a Georgia tag and activated his emergency equipment in order to perform a traffic stop on the car.

The vehicle, being driven by Smith, pulled into the Shell gas station at the intersection of Skyview and Thornton Road as if to stop, Hambrick said. Once deputies exited their vehicles the suspect’s car sped off and deputies pursued the vehicle. The pursuit of the vehicle took several turns and eventually continued south on Thornton Road. Manson conducted a controlled P.I.T. maneuver to end the pursuit.

Smith and the passenger of the vehicle, Byse, were arrested on the scene where a black semi-automatic handgun was recovered from the vehicle along with U.S. currency and various merchandise believed to have been taken in the robbery, according to Hambrick.

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