LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Three men have been arrested after a series of violent fast food robberies, and police say they're glad the suspects were caught before they became even more violent.

You'll find a burger, a blizzard and a side of security on the menu at a Middletown Dairy Queen that was one of several fast food restaurants robbed at gunpoint.

"It was a great relief honestly, the community was terrified," said Louisville Metro Police Lt. Jennifer Coe.

Police say they connected the dots in elaborate string of violent fast food robberies that covered Louisville in the last month.

Twenty-year-old Dewayne Mitchell is charged with the July 23 holdup at the McDonalds on Preston Highway. U.S. Marshals caught up with him Monday, along with suspects accused in a different case.

We're told Mitchell's accomplices during the July 23 robbery were 18-year-old Tyler Carter and 18-year-old Brandon Harvey.

All three are accused of taking part in robberies where shots were fired into the ceiling of the restaurants, customers were forced to the floor, and two employees were hit in the the head with a gun before the suspects got away with cash.

Hardees, Wendy's, McDonalds and a Dairy Queen were all hit in July as well as several other businesses: Police say that on Monday, June 30, just after 9 a.m., Harvey and Carter entered the Rite Aid at 5601 Bardstown Rd., armed with a handgun, and took cash from the business.

On Wednesday, July 16, just after 6 a.m. Harvey and Carter allegedly walked into the Dairy Queen at 11806 Shelbyville Rd., armed with a handgun, and demanded cash.

Police say that a week later on Wednesday, July 23, Harvey and Carter -- along with Mitchell -- entered the McDonalds at 5600 Preston Highway, armed with a handgun. They allegedly demanded and received cash from the business.

Harvey is accused of two additional robberies. Police say that on July 4, he entered the Wendy's at 1600 S. Hurstbourne Parkway, armed with a handgun. He then allegedly jumped the counter and pointed the gun at an employee. Harvey then allegedly demanded cash from the business and fired a round into the ceiling, "putting the three employees present at risk of serious physical injury or death."

On July 25, Harvey allegedly entered the Hardee's restaurant located at 9506 Taylorsville Rd. in Jeffersontown, pointed a handgun at the clerk and demanded cash from the business. 

"We put all the resources we could on this, to apprehend them as quickly as we could and get them off the streets," Coe said.

But officers will not reveal the evidence that links the group to the crimes.

Mitchell's arrest led to the other two suspects -- but police say when they tracked down Harvey, they found another piece of the puzzle.

"They were trying to purchase an assault rifle," Coe said.

It turns out that another suspect -- Terra Cox -- was allegedly financing gun purchases using marked bills from a bank robbery to buy weapons for the group.

"It was escalating, without a doubt, and so it was time to catch them," said Ken Hatmaker with the Jeffersontown Police Department.

Now that the suspects have been caught, restaurant workers are breathing a little easier, but others are still fearful.

A manager at the Wendy's on Hurstbourne Lane tells us the two workers held up there on the July 4 haven't returned to work since the robbery and he doesn't know if they ever will.

Mitchell was in court Tuesday morning; Harvey and Carter remain jailed at Metro Corrections and were set to be arraigned on Wednesday.

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