Eight months after their arrests ended a March crime spree, four men have confessed their roles in convenience-store robberies and home burglaries.
During the rampage, store clerks were held at gunpoint as the defendants stole beer, cigarettes and sunflower seeds, and during a high-speed chase as police pursued the suspects, someone in the defendants' vehicle fired a CO2-powered BB gun at a police vehicle. An officer returned fire, and police used road spikes to stop the vehicle.
Hebrew Audiss, 22, Adam Poor Bear, 18, Matthew Wright, 22, and Cassidy Grosz, 23, entered guilty pleas to various charges before 7th Circuit Judge Mary Thorstenson on Friday morning.
Each man reached an independent plea agreement with prosecutors, which resulted in some charges being dismissed. All defendants will be sentenced in November.
The four, along with 19-year-old Schauvon “Joseph” Tobacco, were arrested in the early morning hours of March 6 after a police chase.
The chain of events started when two local convenience stores reported that beer had been stolen. At the first store, a clerk grappled with one of the thieves. At the second store, Wright entered with a gun while Tobacco stood outside the store with a metal rod, according to Pennington County Deputy State’s Attorney Tracey Decker.
An hour later, two men with a gun demanded cigarettes from another convenience-store clerk.
About 3 a.m., police received a report of an attempted home burglary in the Skyline Drive area, which helped them find the suspects.
Tobacco kicked in a window at one home, which woke the homeowners and frightened the suspects off. The group managed to break into another home, where they took a large television, Decker said.
Tobacco pleaded guilty to first-degree robbery earlier this summer. Thorstenson sentenced him in July to 10 years in prison.
Audiss pleaded guilty to being an accessory to first-degree robbery and attempted first-degree burglary on Friday. Audiss admitted helping Tobacco steal beer and helping with the burglary attempt. He faces a maximum Sentence of 10 years in prison.
Poor Bear admitted taking sunflower seeds at gunpoint from a convenience store when he pleaded guilty to first-degree robbery. He faces up to 25 years in prison.
Wright, who has a previous felony conviction for aggravated eluding, faces up to 50 years in prison after pleading guilty to first-degree robbery. As part of a plea agreement, Decker will ask for no more than 30 years. Wright had a gun when he demanded cigarettes from a convenience store clerk.
Grosz was driving a minivan that police pursued through city streets at speeds up to 60 mph. He pleaded guilty to being an accessory to first-degree burglary, aggravated eluding and probation violation. He faces a maximum penalty of 12 years in prison.
In court Friday, Grosz admitted to driving Tobacco to a Skyline Drive home that he tried to burglarize. He fled from police because he was wanted for a probation violation, he said. He tested positive for marijuana at the 24/7 Sobriety Program on Feb. 27.