Three charged in Mower County robberies
Published 1:12 pm Monday, December 14, 2020
Possible link to other area robberies
Three individuals, including one, police believe is connected to several robberies, made their first appearances on Monday in Mower County District Court.
Toby James Gogolewski, 19, of Lyle has been charged with felony first-degree aggravated robbery – possess dangerous weapon.
Nathaniel Gerome Davenport Jr., 18, of Austin has been charged with felony aiding/abetting first-degree aggravated robbery.
Patrick Harris Alston, 19, of Austin has been charged with felony aggravated robbery – possess a dangerous weapon.
According to the court complaints, Austin police officers responded to an armed robbery report at about 8:59 p.m. on Dec. 8 at the Dollar General. The cashier on duty reported that three male suspects were involved – one watched the door, one checked the store for customers and the other held a knife to her, demanded money and took money from the register. It was determined that $918.01 was stolen.
Law enforcement responded to a report of an armed robbery at 6:56 p.m. on Dec. 11 at the Freeborn County Co-op in Lyle. Mower County deputies responded and advised other law enforcement to monitor Highway 105, as they believed the suspect vehicle was heading toward Austin.
An employee at the convenience store reported that two male suspects were involved and that one had a knife. She said one of the suspects asked her if the store had any Arizona Half & Half Tea. While she was helping him, the other suspect held the knife to her back, grabbed her hair and told her to take him to the safe. She complied; however, the safe contained no cash. He then ordered her to open the cash register and took cash from the drawer. She also reported that he took several cigars from a shelf behind the counter before he fled the scene.
She described the suspect who asked for the tea as about 6’ tall, Hispanic and having a heavier build. She described the suspect with the knife as about 6’ tall and skinny with pale skin and blue eyes. She said the knife was a 4-5” hunting knife with a serrated blade.
The employee said the suspect stole about $580 from the register. She did not see which direction they went or the vehicle they used.
Austin police officers positioned their vehicles to watch for a suspect vehicle between Austin and Lyle. An officer soon observed a dirty, dark colored passenger car headed north on 540th Avenue that was similar to a vehicle used in a robbery that occurred on Dec. 9 at Corky’s Shell Station in the City of Adams. The officer stopped the vehicle, a 1999 Honda Civic, in the 2900 block of Fourth Street Southeast and identified the two occupants as Gogolewski (the driver) and Davenport. The officer detected a strong odor of marijuana coming from the vehicle and Gogolewski said he had smoked marijuana earlier in the day.
The officer advised he was stopping them as part of the investigation of the robbery in Lyle. The officer observed a hunting knife in the vehicle and advised both men to keep their hands in view. They were removed from the vehicle to be searched for drugs due to the strong odor of marijuana coming from the vehicle. The officer was then advised that the pair matched the description of the robbery suspects. The officer noted that the pair did not deny involvement in the robbery and they did not seem surprised by the vehicle stop or their arrests.
Gogolewski was read a Miranda warning and agreed to speak to police. He admitted to being involved in the robbery of the Co-op in Lyle and gave a detailed statement of the planning of the robbery and the events of the robbery that matched the events viewed on the surveillance camera. He also said the stolen items were in the vehicle and the money and cigars were located there.
Gogolewski later provided details of his involvement in three prior robberies in Mower County, including the one at the Dollar General store. He said that he, Alston and another adult man planned the robbery and then committed it. Gogolewski said he had a machete and he identified Alston as “the lookout.” He said they rode in Alston’s pickup and parked near the Dollar General, committed the robbery, and then left in the pickup. He said the three of them split up after that and he left the machete he carried into the store in the pickup.
Alston was arrested on Dec. 12 and admitted to police that he was involved in the Dollar General robbery. He provided police with the locations for items stolen from the Dollar General, some of which were located by police.
The APD and MCSO are continuing to investigate these cases while working with the Southeast Minnesota Violent Crimes Enforcement Team.
All three suspects will appear in court again on Dec. 28.