Man charged with robbing three at northeast Salem hotel, assaulting one

(Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

A man has been charged with robbing two employees and a guest at a northeast Salem hotel in mid-March before police say he fled the state and was arrested in Nevada.

Jaime Robert Callaway, 33, was charged Friday in Marion County Circuit Court with three counts of first-degree robbery, three counts of unlawful use of a weapon, second-degree assault and being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Salem patrol officers responded just after 11 a.m. on March 14 to a report of an armed robbery at the front desk of America’s Best Value Inn at 1875 Fisher Road N.E. in Salem, according to an affidavit for an arrest warrant dated Monday.

Witnesses told police a man approached a woman working at the front desk and extended the stay for Room #121. Around ten minutes later, that man and another entered the lobby from the hallway leading to rooms.

The man coming immediately behind the first was wearing a mask and pointed a black handgun at the woman working the counter, another employee and a guest in the lobby, the affidavit said.

Witnesses told police the man walked behind the front counter, demanding money from the register and each of their belongings including their car keys. Police later identified the man as Callaway.

The woman working the front desk said she gave the man around $1,000 in cash from the register, along with her purse and car keys, adding that she recognized him as the same man who had just extended the room rental, according to the affidavit.

The second employee told police she was at the front desk talking with the first when the robber entered the lobby with the gun.

She said the robber shoved her into a corner and demanded her car keys. When she told him she didn’t have a car, he then struck her on the head with the gun. The blow caused pain she rated as a seven on a zero-to-10 scale at the time of the robbery. He then took her cell phone out of her pocket. 

Salem police identified the person who originally rented room #121 – not Callaway – and learned they had a brother, who they identified as the man exiting the hallway directly in front of Callaway.

Police identified the men by comparing video surveillance images against Facebook pictures of them and comparing physical features and tattoos.

A Salem detective found and interviewed the other man he identified on March 16, and the man confirmed he and Callaway had stayed March 13 at the hotel.

He admitted that he had exited the lobby and turned around to see Callaway pointing a gun at the three women in the lobby. The man told the detective “that he thought Jaime Callaway was joking,” the affidavit said.

The man also said he and Callaway had taken an Uber to another local motel where they spent the night, adding that he believed Callaway had later traveled to northern California “possibly also by Uber.”

Police later learned Callaway was arrested on an unrelated criminal warrant in Reno, Nevada, three days after the incident on March 17 and was being held in the Washoe County Jail.

Marion County Deputy District Attorney Amy Queen said Callaway was still in custody in Nevada as of Wednesday and awaits extradition to Salem.

Callaway’s bail in Marion County is set at $240,000, according to an order for arrest warrant.

He was previously convicted of felony burglary in January 2009 in Nevada, prohibiting him from possessing a firearm, the affidavit said.

 Contact reporter Ardeshir Tabrizian: [email protected] or 503-929-3053.

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