Mitchell man charged in Easy Come & Easy Go robbery pleads guilty to first-degree robbery

Beck was one of two suspects charged with aggravated assault and first-degree robbery

Two suspects are detained by Mitchell police officers on Nov. 18, 2021, after an armed robbery was reported at the Easy Come & Easy Go gas station just minutes prior.
Hunter Dunteman / Mitchell Republic

MITCHELL — A Mitchell man who was charged with first-degree robbery and aggravated assault for his role in stealing money from a local gas station by threatening a clerk with a BB gun changed his plea on Tuesday.

During Tuesday's Davison County felony court proceedings, John Beck, 18, pleaded guilty to first-degree robbery — a Class 2 felony that carries a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison along with a $50,000 fine.

Beck, who was one of the two suspects charged with first-degree robbery and aggravated assault that stemmed from the gas station robbery that took place on Nov. 18, previously pleaded not guilty to all charges in connection to the incident. Geno Gehl, 18, of Mitchell, was the second suspect who was charged with first-degree robbery and aggravated assault for his role in the robbery that took place at Easy Come, Easy Go gas station on Sanborn Boulevard.

Beck’s court hearing looked a bit different than typical hearings for felony court proceedings due to an exposure of the latest COVID-19 variant. He, and every individual who is in custody, appeared in court for their hearing on Tuesday from the Davison County jail through an electronic camera.

Gehl previously pleaded not guilty to both felony charges, though he allegedly admitted to authorities following the robbery that he “pointed the BB gun at the clerk” and “demanded” money. During the robbery, Beck also pointed a loaded BB gun at the gas station clerk. Davison County Deputy State’s Attorney Robert O’Keefe said Tuesday that the BB gun Beck used to threaten the gas station clerk mimicked a handgun.


After officers arrested Beck and Gehl, Beck later admitted to authorities investigating the robbery that he was the suspect who grabbed the money from the gas station employee, according to an arrest affidavit.

When authorities located the suspects and arrested them a few blocks from the gas station near Sanborn Boulevard within 10 minutes of being called to the scene, one of the suspects was carrying $554 in cash. According to court documents, Gehl told authorities he and Beck planned the robbery. The two told investigators that they intended to use the stolen money to fill up their vehicle with gas to travel to Rapid City.

Officers were able to locate the suspects with the help of descriptions from the gas station clerk, who also told authorities the direction they fled following the armed robbery.

According to an arrest affidavit, Beck and Gehl were both in possession of two BB guns that closely mimicked real firearm pistols. Gehl also told authorities during questioning that he shot two BBs from his BB gun in an attempt to rush the gas station clerk to hand over money.

Judge Chris Giles ordered a presentence investigation report to be conducted on Beck prior to sentencing him. Beck is scheduled to be sentenced on Mar. 1.

Sam Fosness joined the Mitchell Republic in May 2018. He was raised in Mitchell, S.D., and graduated from Mitchell High School. He continued his education at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, where he graduated in 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in English. During his time in college, Fosness worked as a news and sports reporter for The Volante newspaper.
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