Archive for Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Arrest in robberies draws praise

December 22, 2004, 4:22 p.m.

Updated: December 28, 2004, 8:42 a.m.

Some good, old-fashioned investigative work helped authorities solve last week's armed robbery of gasoline stations in Lansing and Leavenworth, Lansing Police said.

A 25-year-old Kansas City, Kan., man is in Leavenworth County Jail awaiting his next court appearance on charges he robbed Wood Oil, 109 4-H Road in Lansing, and Star Mart Texaco, 1401 S. Fourth St. in Leavenworth. A clerk was sexually assaulted during the Lansing robbery.

The incidents occurred in the evening hours of Dec. 21.

A news release from the Lansing Police Department said the suspect's vehicle was identified from surveillance video. Police Chief John Simmons said detectives Ben Ontiveros and Scott Crawford worked for nearly two days straight to identify the suspect and his whereabouts.

Shortly after 6 p.m. Thursday, Sgt. Tony Waterman, using information gathered by the detectives, waited at 7-Eleven, 501 N. Main St., where he expected the suspect to show up. When Waterman spotted the suspect and vehicle, he followed them to a Lansing neighborhood. The suspect was then arrested on an unrelated warrant.

After the arrest, the suspect was questioned, then booked into jail on charges including aggravated robbery.

Mike Smith, Lansing city administrator and former police chief, praised the effort of the arresting officer.

"He literally took it personally that it happened on his shift in his city and worked to solve the crime," Smith said. "He took it beyond what a normal police officer would do."

Simmons emphasized the team effort.

"The officer was in the right place at the right time with the fruits of (the detectives') labor," he said.

The suspect made his first appearance on Wednesday in Leavenworth County District Court to face the robbery and assault charges. He will appear again today at 9 a.m. with an attorney.

He was scheduled to appear Wednesday in Leavenworth municipal court and on Jan. 12 in Lansing municipal court to face charges unrelated to the robberies.

Kansas Department of Corrections records show the suspect is no stranger to the state prison system. He has two prior convictions for aggravated indecent liberties with a child and a separate burglary conviction. The crimes date to 1996.

He has spent time in the Topeka, Lansing, El Dorado, Hutchinson and Norton correctional facilities.

His record includes a probation violation in 1998 and a parole violation in 2003. He had been released again on parole in October 2003.

The clerk, who was taken to the emergency room to be treated for the stress of the night's events, was released.

A police report put the monetary loss in the Wood Oil robbery at $546. About $200 was taken from Star Mart Texaco, Leavenworth Police said.

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