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Armed robbery suspects, both 18, shot BB guns at clerk, authorities say

Both suspects were charged with first-degree robbery and aggravated assault

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Two Mitchell police officers handle paper bags labeled "evidence" while a third officer speaks with a suspect after an armed robbery was reported at the Easy Come & Easy Go gas station Thursday, Nov. 18, 2021. (Hunter Dunteman / Mitchell Republic)

Two men were arrested Thursday after a reported robbery at a local gas station pointed BB guns that appeared to be real at the store clerk's head, their charges allege.

Police in Mitchell were called to the Easy Come & Easy Go gas station at approximately 4 p.m. Thursday after a store clerk had called 911 to report she had been robbed at gunpoint.

The store clerk told police that two men, appearing to be 19- or 20-years-old, had entered the gas station and robbed the store. She was able to describe the suspects and the direction they fled on foot.

Authorities were able to locate the two suspects, later identified as 18-year-olds Geno Gehl and John Beck, of Mitchell, approximately two blocks southwest of the store.

Court documents say Gehl and Beck were found in possession of two BB gun air pistols that had the appearance of a real firearm. One of the two was also carrying $554 in cash.

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Two suspects are detained by Mitchell police officers after an armed robbery was reported at the Easy Come & Easy Go gas station just minutes prior. (Hunter Dunteman / Mitchell Republic)

In a post-arrest interview with police, Gehl allegedly said the two had pre-planned the robbery in an effort to get gas money to drive to Rapid City. He told police he pointed the gun at the clerk and demanded they give him the money from the register. He said he fired two shots from his air pistol in order to make the clerk hurry up.

In Beck's interview, he allegedly claimed he hadn't wanted to rob the store, because it was his first time. He admitted, however, that he was the one that grabbed the cash from the clerk.

After the robbery, the pair began running, and were apprehended by police no more than 10 minutes after the initial 911 call.

They were each charged with first-degree robbery and aggravated assault, a Class 2 felony and Class 3 felony, respectively. If convicted, they each face a maximum sentence of 40 years in prison, an $80,000 fine or both.

Both were due in a Davison County courtroom Friday, Nov. 19 for an initial appearance.

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A Mitchell police officer takes a suspect to his squad car after an armed robbery was reported at the Easy Come & Easy Go gas station Thursday, Nov. 18, 2021. (Hunter Dunteman / Mitchell Republic)

A South Dakota native, Hunter joined Forum Communications Company as a reporter for the Mitchell (S.D.) Republic in June 2021 and now works as a digital reporter for Forum News Service, focusing on regional news that impacts the Dakotas, Minnesota and Wisconsin.
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