The Duncan Banner

Local News

December 12, 2006

Armed robbery arrest

DUNCAN — Two young men have been arrested and charged with the armed robbery of the Chisholm Corner West convenience store at Elk and Overland early Friday.

Thomas Eli Ashbrook, 19, of Duncan is being held in Stephens County Jail on the felony charge of robbery with a firearm with bond set at $10,000.

Matthew Stevens, 17, also of Duncan, was charged with robbery with a firearm under the Youthful Offender Act, and was released Monday on $5,000 bond.

According to Duncan Police Detectives Donny Foraker and John Byers, in interviews with police, both Stevens and Ashbrook have admitted planning the robbery together.

The police report states that just before 4 a.m. Friday, Stevens entered the convenience store and attempted to purchase a package of cigarettes. He left when turned away for not being old enough, but returned a short time later followed by Ashbrook, who was wearing a toboggan cap and a bandana over his face.

Police allege that Ashbrook then pointed a semi-automatic pistol at the clerk and demanded money from the cash register. After getting money and a pack of cigarettes, he warned the clerk to do nothing and left the store.

Detectives said that after watching the store’s surveillance video, they interviewed Stevens as a witness to the robbery and he admitted his involvement.

Ashbrook was located Friday evening and taken into custody on a felony warrant. During a search of his apartment, detectives recovered the pistol reportedly used in the robbery; a firearm that had been reported stolen in another case still under investigation.

A second juvenile was interviewed by police but not charged, said Byers, when it was determined he was not actively involved.

If convicted, the felony charge of robbery with a firearm carries a penalty of at least five years in prison.

For Stevens, who was charged under the Youthful Offender Act, a conviction would place him into the custody of the Office of Juvenile Affairs. According to state statute, the purpose of the Youthful Offender Act is to “better ensure the public safety by holding youths accountable for the commission of serious crimes.”

The incident was Duncan’s first reported armed robbery since 2004, when two local pharmacies were robbed by Kevin Sandefur, then 19. Sandefur is serving seven years of a 15-year sentence in the state penitentiary.

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