FARMINGTON — FBI agents said one of the suspects involved in an armed robbery last month at the Sonic in Shiprock was a former employee who had been fired days before.

Eddie Shirley, 27, was arrested Friday in connection to the Nov. 30 robbery of the Sonic Drive-In near U.S. 491 in Shiprock, FBI spokesman Frank Fisher said in an email.

Shirley is scheduled to appear in district court in Albuquerque for a preliminary hearing Tuesday morning. He has been charged with robbery.

Shortly after midnight on Nov. 30, two suspects, with hooded sweatshirts, bandanas and masks covering their faces, entered the Sonic as employees were preparing to close, according to court documents.

One of the robbers carried an AK-47 assault rifle and pointed it at the assistant manager and said in a unnaturally high voice to disguise himself: "Open the bottom safe. Give me the money," according to court documents.

The two suspects fled with $400 in a light-colored sedan.

Witnesses outside the store said the second suspect sounded like a female.

A Navajo Nation police investigator spotted the car the suspects fled in at the City Market in Shiprock last Monday.

Agents said it belonged to Mary Yazzie, who lived in Shiprock with Mareesha Singer, one of the employees who was robbed, according to court documents.

Singer told investigators that her sister, Jarrileta Singer, and her boyfriend, Shirley, were at Sonic about an hour before it was robbed.


Agents interviewed Shirley and Jarrileta Singer last week. Jarrileta said she went with Shirley to Sonic in Yazzie's car, but she thought Shirley was going to pull a prank and didn't know he planned a robbery.

Shirley allegedly told investigators he robbed Sonic because he was under financial pressure after being fired from the fast-food chain, according to court documents.

Shirley has been the only person charged with a crime in connection to the robbery, Fisher said.