Lyle teen sentenced to prison for armed robbery convictions

Published 6:03 pm Friday, June 25, 2021

Targeted businesses in Austin, Adams and Lyle

A Lyle teen who pleaded guilty on Jan. 25 to four area armed robberies will be sent to the Minnesota State Correctional Facility in St. Cloud.

Toby James Gogolewski, 19, was sentenced on Thursday in Mower County District Court to 75 months in prison for felony first-degree aggravated robbery – possess dangerous weapon.

He received concurrent sentences of 67 months and 50 months in prison on two additional convictions for felony first-degree aggravated robbery – possess dangerous weapon – and 41 months in prison for felony aiding/abetting first-degree aggravated robbery – possess dangerous weapon.

He received credit for 194 days served.

Toby James Gogolewski, 19

Judge Kevin Siefken issued the sentencing.

Court documents state that Austin police responded to an armed robbery at about 9:39 p.m. on Dec. 6 at the Apollo III gas station on West Oakland Avenue. While officers were enroute, they were informed that the suspect fled on foot and ran south from the gas station.

An officer made contact with the cashier working at the time of the robbery. He reported the suspect, whom he described as “shady,” came up behind him, grabbed him from the back with his left arm around his chest and held a black knife, approximately 6-inches in length, to his right side and told him to open the safe and the register. He stated the suspect forced him behind the register, whereupon he opened the safe and register and the suspect grabbed the money and ran south from the gas station. He reported that the suspect took approximately $850 from the store and there was surveillance video of the robbery.

A second armed robbery was reported at about 8:50 p.m. on Dec. 8 at the Austin 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.

Mower County deputies were dispatched to a third armed robbery at about 9:34 p.m. on Dec. 9 at Corky’s Corner Convenience Store in Adams. A male employee reported that the first suspect approached the counter while a second and third suspect then entered the store, both holding knives, walked directly behind the counter and ordered the employee to open the register. He said the suspects took approximately $2,521 from the cash register, along with cigars and vaping devices.

A review of security footage from Corky’s Corner showed one of the suspects holding a knife to the employee’s lower back while he opened the register.

Surveillance footage from a nearby business showed the suspect vehicle drive into the alley west of Corky’s Corner. Twenty minutes later, two suspects were seen running east in the alley with the suspect vehicle following them.

Deputies responded to an armed robbery report on Dec. 11 at the Freeborn County Co-op in Lyle. An employee reported that two male suspects were involved and that one had a knife. She said one came in first and asked if the store had any tea, then 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 reported that about $580 and several cigars were stolen.

The deputies advised other law enforcement to monitor Highway 105 as they believed the suspect vehicle was heading toward Austin. Police stopped a 1999 Honda Civic, which matched the footage of the suspect vehicle from the Corky’s Corner robbery, in the 2900 block of Fourth Street Southeast and identified the two occupants as Gogolewski (the driver) and Nathaniel Jerome Davenport Jr. They were informed that they were being stopped as part of the investigation into the Lyle robbery and that they matched the description of the suspects provided by the employee.

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.

Gogolewski later provided details of his involvement in the three robberies held prior to the Freeborn Co-op robbery. He said he was the getaway driver in the Apollo III robbery, which he said was carried out by a juvenile male. He said he drove the juvenile to the area of Shirley Theel Memorial Park, where the juvenile exited the vehicle before returning several minutes later “out of breath.” He said he drove the juvenile to a business on First Street Southwest and the juvenile gave him $30 or $40 before exiting the vehicle.

Gogolewski said that he, Patrick Harris Alston and Ladevin Martaz Hardin were involved in the robbery of the Dollar General. 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.

Gogolewski then told police that he, Davenport and Hardin were involved in the robbery at Corky’s Corner. He said the decision to rob Corky’s Corner was a group decision and the plan was to “go in, get as much as possible, and get out.” He provided details regarding the planning of the robbery and described the robbery, which matched the events described by the victim and on the surveillance video.

Detectives showed photos of the surveillance footage to Gogolewski, who identified himself as the suspect who took money from the register while holding a knife toward the clerk. He then identified Davenport as the suspect behind the counter with him during the robbery.

Alston was sentenced to 41 months in prison on May 21 for his involvement in the Dollar General robbery. Hardin and Davenport, who have both pleaded guilty to armed robbery charges, will be sentenced on Sept. 9.

In addition to prison time, Gogolewski must pay a total of $5,138.13 in fines and restitution.