Three accused of bogus ‘inside’ store robbery

Three people, including a store clerk, are accused of faking an armed robbery Sunday at a North Avenue gas station, Grand Junction police said Wednesday.

Police said they believe Nicholas Evan Nowak, 25, a clerk at the Bradley Sinclair, 2903 North Ave., called 911 to report his store had been robbed. He was issued a summons Tuesday on suspicion of misdemeanor theft of under $1,000 and false reporting.

Nowak is accused of working with two friends, Sonja Marie Ann Larson, 22, and Christopher Dustin Hibl, 20, to plan Sunday’s staged robbery, which was captured on video surveillance.

The video shows Hibl and Nowak “going through the motions of a robbery,” police said in a news release. Hibl, who was armed with what was later determined to be a BB gun, appears to walk up to Hibl and demand money. Nowak hands over money and cigarettes. Authorities said Larson was waiting outside the store in a car.
Hibl and Larson were issued summonses for suspected misdemeanor theft.

Police said 11 cartons of Marlboro Red cigarettes were stolen, and they retrieved some of those cartons. They said they could not confirm the amount of cash stolen.

According to Mesa County court records, Hibl was issued a summons March 31 on suspicion of misdemeanor criminal mischief. He’s also scheduled to return to court May 29 for an unresolved felony, a probation-violation case.

Sunday’s incident at the Bradley Sinclair happened two days after the gunpoint robbery of Rite Aid, 1834 N. 12th St., near Mesa State College.

“We have no evidence of a connection between the two,” police spokeswoman Kate Porras said.

Police described the suspect in that case as a white man in his mid-20s with short-buzzed, reddish hair. He was wearing faded blue jeans and a long-sleeved shirt with stripes.

Staff at the North Avenue Bradley Sinclair, as well as the company’s corporate offices in Denver, declined to speak about Nowak or Sunday’s incident.


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