MPC STAFF REPORT
Five people were arrested Thursday, May 30, in Jasper County following a manhunt in connection to a robbery at the Tanger Outlet Center in Williamsburg.
According to a news release from the Williamsburg Police Department, those arrested were Johnisha Wyatt, 18; Mercedes Floyd, Stephon Thompson and Jamell Gowdy, all 21; and Valentino Smith, 23, all of St. Louis.
They were arrested in connection with the incident, which offices said happened at about 6:19 p.m. at the Polo Factory Store, 448 Tanger Drive.
Police said that a group of suspects entered the store and were observed shoplifting. During the theft an employee at the store was assaulted. No injuries were reported.
The suspects were seen leaving in a gray Nissan car.
An attempt to locate was issued on the vehicle and occupants over the radio.
At approximately 6:50 p.m. the vehicle was spotted on Interstate 80 in Poweshiek County by a Poweshiek County Sheriff’s Deputy who pursued the vehicle. The vehicle was finally located near mile marker 168 westbound in Jasper County where the vehicle was located on the side of Interstate 80. Two women were standing by the vehicle.
As law enforcement officers approached the two women, they fled across the eastbound lanes of I-80, but were soon taken into custody.
It was learned that at least two other male suspects had fled into the timber near the Newton Speedway.
A tracking dog from the Jasper County Sheriff’s Office was brought in to search for the male subjects between Iowa Speedway Drive and East 19th Street South.
At approximately 8:38 p.m., three male suspects were located by the K-9 hiding in a ditch in the 2700 block of South 13th Avenue East in Newton. The suspects were taken into custody with out incident.
Police said that Smith also has an outstanding arrest warrant on him for a probation violation related to burglary charges in Missouri.
Williamsburg Police have charged Gowdy with second-degree robbery and third-degree theft. The other four suspects have been charged with conspiracy to commit robbery and conspiracy to commit third-degree theft.
Williamsburg Police and the Iowa County Sheriff’s Office assisted with the manhunt and capture of the suspects and recovery of evidence from the scene. Other agencies involved in the incident were: Jasper County Sheriff, Jasper County SERT, Newton Police Department, Newton Fire Department, Iowa State Patrol, Poweshiek County Sheriff, Prairie City Police Department, Baxter Police Department, Monroe Police Department, Iowa Speedway Security.
The arrested individuals may also be involved in an incident at Coral Ridge Mall being investigated by the Coralville Police Department.