Police seeking armed robberNo leads on vehicle, direction suspect fled after Saturday incident.
By: Ross Dolan, The Daily Republic
Mitchell Police need help finding the person who reportedly robbed a local convenience store at gunpoint shortly before midnight Saturday and took an undisclosed amount of cash.
Detective Lt. Don Everson said no one was injured during the crime at Dakota Sunset Liquor, 1524 W. Havens Avenue in Mitchell.
The store is a combination gas station, convenience store and casino on the northeast corner of the intersection of South Ohlman Street and West Havens Avenue. Police released store surveillance photographs late Sunday that show the robbery in progress.
“We’re hoping someone who sees these pictures will recognize some items in the picture, whether it’s the person’s clothing, their body stance, or something that might help us identify who it is,” Everson said.
Early police alerts described the suspect as a white male between 5 feet 10 inches and 6 feet tall, who was last seen wearing blue jeans, a black coat, black tennis shoes, a white ball cap, “with some type of emblem on it, and some type of white material over his face.”
The only people in the store at the time of the robbery were a female clerk and another customer who was in another room, Everson said.
“The suspect came from the east and went in the front (south) door,” Everson said. “He threatened the clerk with a gun, demanded money and, after he was given it, left by the same south door.” No one saw how the man got to the scene or how he made his getaway.
“We do not have a suspect vehicle at this time or an exact direction of travel,” Everson said. The weapon used to threaten the clerk was not a hand gun or pistol, he said.
“It appears to be a long gun. Part of it was obscured by his clothing.” Surveillance photos show the suspect steadying the barrel of the gun with his right hand. Lead investigator Adam Frerichs said the entire robbery took about 30 seconds.
“It was wham, bam, in and out.” The exact amount taken in the robbery is being withheld as part of the investigation. Everson would only say that “more than $1,000 was taken.”
Everson said police responded fast, but not fast enough. “We had an officer about 10 blocks away at the time the call came in, but the suspect was gone by the time he reached the scene,” he said.
There have been no reports of similar robberies in the area, he said.
Police are convinced someone saw something at the time of the robbery, but they may not have understood exactly what they were witnessing, Everson said.
He said several people were getting gas at Cubby’s, another service station on the west side of Ohlman, but no one has come forward yet with information on the robbery.
Everson said police have collected and interviewed several people as part of their investigation.
“We’re just looking for that piece of information that will lead us to who did it,” he said.
Business owner Tim Wiebelhaus declined comment. He said he was following police directives to not speak about the incident.
The crime will be listed as a Crime Stoppers Crime of the Week, Everson said.
Anyone with information on this incident or other crimes is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 996-1700 or send a text message to CRIMES (274637). Text “MITCS,” followed by your message. Information received through Crime Stoppers remains anonymous. Additionally, caller IDs are not attached to the Crime Stoppers phone line.
The last armed robbery in Mitchell was on Jan. 15, 2010, Everson said, when Check into Cash, 1903 N. Main St., was robbed at gunpoint.
In September 2010, Kenneth Edward stuck up the CorTrust Bank on North Main Street. He was arrested, convicted and is now serving a 20-year sentence.