They met at Fantasy Fest. But it ended with a knife and robbery, cops say


An 18-year-old Key West man was arrested Monday after police said he used a knife to rob an Alabama man of $275 last fall.

Alijah Helmar was arrested at 53 High Point Rd. on Plantation Key.

Byran Warda, 22, of Jasper, Alabama, told police he had befriended Helmar during Fantasy Fest 2017 and invited him to go to dinner at Outback with another friend Nov. 15, 2017.

When Helmar got into Warda’s backseat at the Sunbeam Market, 500 White St., Helmar allegedly pulled a knife on him told him to empty his wallet.

“I asked Bryan if he was meeting Alijah to purchase drugs, and he said no,” Detective Stephen Mitchell wrote.

Warda said Helmar “snickered” and left the car on foot, according to the arrest reports.

Then Warda and his friend went to eat at Outback and then reported the robbery.

“I believe Bryan and Alijah had exchanged money in some form of a transaction and Alijah did not fulfill his obligation of the transaction and did not return the money to Bryan,” Mitchell wrote.

Warda picked Helmar out of a photo lineup. His other friend, Kevin Hettich, 29, also of Jasper, Alabama, said he couldn’t identify Helmar because he was drunk during Fantasy Fest when they first met and that during the alleged robbery Helmar was directly behind him, according to police.

Helmar was booked into the Plantation Key Detention Center at 3:10 p.m. and released within the hour, according to jail records.

In March 2016, Helmar was accused by police of a home invasion-style robbery but Helmar was never charged.

Gwen Filosa: @KeyWestGwen