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Thursday, July 3, 2014

Two arrested in Subway robbery slowed down at intersections during police chase

By Stan Finger
The Wichita Eagle

A man and woman robbed a Subway shop in east Wichita on Saturday morning, then avoided capture by law enforcement officers for more than half an hour before finally surrendering in rural Butler County, authorities said.

The chase included stretches of Rock Road and reached top speeds of 100 miles an hour, Sedgwick County sheriff’s Capt. Annette Haga said.

A 26-year-old man went into the Subway at 343 S. Greenwich Road just before 10 a.m. and ordered two sandwiches, Wichita police Lt. Doug Nolte said. When the clerk opened the register to complete the transaction, the man pointed a handgun at her and demanded money. He left the store with the money and climbed into a blue 2002 Chevrolet Impala being driven by an accomplice.

A sheriff’s supervisor recognized the car a few minutes later from the description given by the Subway clerk and a pursuit began, Nolte said.

By the time it ended 33 minutes later, the two had driven through Rose Hill and Douglass, hitting 100 miles an hour in rural areas of Butler County, Haga said.

“Oddly, these people slowed down at intersections,” Haga said. “They seemed to be making efforts not to have a collision. Which is not normally something we see. Normally we see people just driving like maniacs without any regard for the intersection they’re about to blow through.”

Wichita police, the Kansas Highway Patrol and Butler County sheriff’s officers joined Sedgwick County sheriff’s officers in the chase. It finally ended on Southwest 120th Street South, just west of Coal Creek Road.

A highway patrol trooper had put down spikes to flatten the Impala’s tires.

“They recognized they couldn’t avoid the spikes and they just stopped,” Haga said.

A 22-year-old woman from Topeka was arrested along with the man, who is from Wichita Falls, Texas. Authorities found evidence in the car linking the man and woman to the Subway robbery, Nolte said.

Other law enforcement officers had put down spike strips at various points during the chase, Haga said, but the woman was able to avoid the spikes and keep driving.

The man and woman are suspected of two recent robberies in Topeka and one in Lawrence, Wichita Deputy Chief Tom Stolz said. They may ultimately be connected to others as well, he said.

Contact Stan Finger at 316-268-6437.

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