The Free Press, Mankato, MN

May 10, 2013

UPDATE: 14-year-old arrested in armed robbery case

Dan Nienaber

---- — MANKATO — A 14-year-old boy is in a juvenile detention center for an alleged armed robbery, an 18-year-old man is in jail accused of dealing marijuana, and police were still searching for a third suspect in a drug deal that went bad Thursday evening.

A witness called 911 at about 6:30 p.m. Thursday to report two white males were chasing a black male in the parking lot for the Jaycees Park softball fields near the intersection of Balcerzak Drive and Pohl Road. The caller said the person being chased appeared to have a gun and one of the people chasing him had a long stick. A description of the car the white males left in also was provided.

An officer stopped the car near the Eastport Apartments complex south of the ball fields. She found three males in the car, including 18-year-old Dylan Andrew Nichols. Items also were found in the car that made the officer suspect drug dealing, so the Minnesota River Valley Drug Task Force was called to assist.

While interviewing Nichols and the other two males, investigators eventually learned the group had arranged a meeting at the park to sell marijuana. When they arrived, the buyer pulled what appeared to be a gun and robbed them. The chase followed, resulting in the 911 call.

Investigators also were able to identify the 14-year-old boy who they suspect is the robber. He was arrested at his Mankato residence at about 12:30 a.m. Friday.

The two males with Nichols are not facing charges, but investigators suspect there was another black male with the suspected robber. He was described as being average height with a thin build and was wearing a red Air Jordan sweatshirt at the time of the robbery.

A gun has not been found. Anyone who finds a gun, a pellet gun or a toy gun should leave it where it is and call 911, said Cmdr. Dan Schisel of the Mankato Department of Public Safety.

"We have not recovered that item, but all reports are it was something that looked like a real gun," he said.

Any other potential witnesses with information about the robbery also should call 911, he said.

The 14-year-old boy is at a detention center in Chaska facing juvenile first-degree robbery charges.

Felony charges of fifth-degree drug sales are being requested for Nichols, who is in the Blue Earth County Jail.