A drug deal in Royalton became an armed robbery, according to one witness in a felony investigation.
Charged Wednesday with armed robbery are Sean C. Crews, 27, New London, and Joseph A. Ruelle, 42, Clintonville. Crews has also been charged with negligent handling of a weapon.
According to the criminal complaint, Maynard Gentry, 44, New London, called 911 shortly after 6 p.m. Monday, June 6, and reported that he had just been robbed by two people near County Roads O and B. He said they were headed toward Waupaca in a red Chevy.
Deputy Chad Repinski drove to the park near the bridge in Royalton where he met Gentry.
Gentry told Repinski that he had been with friends at the park when he received a call from Crystal Dankert, who said she was heading to New London and offered to give him a ride back home. When Dankert arrived, there were two other men in the car.
Ruelle was driving the vehicle, Dankert was in front passenger’s seat and Crews was sitting in the back seat, according to the criminal complaint.
Gentry told police that Ruelle drove the vehicle west on State Highway 54 toward Waupaca, then turned down a side road. Gentry reportedly said that Crews asked him if he “wanted to do a pill,” and he replied no.
Gentry said the car came to a stop and Crews pulled out a silver-colored revolver, pointed it at Gentry, cocked back the hammer, and told him to give him all the money he had. Gentry had $320 in his wallet, which he gave to Crews.
Crews allegedly told Gentry that he was lucky and to get out of the car.
Gentry reported that he had just cashed two disability checks and had informed Dankert that he had the money on him.
Meanwhile, Weyauwega Police Officer Adam Rogge was on State Highway 110 at County Road X when he spotted a red car with three people in it. He followed the suspect vehicle into Weyauwega and notified dispatch.
Deputy Patrick Gorchals arrived to assist Rogge in making a felony stop. Deputy Jon Loken also arrived with a search canine, Arka.
Officers reported finding $226 in cash, a small metal container with pills, and a .38-caliber Smith and Wesson snub-nose revolver inside the vehicle.
The three occupants were taken to the county jail.
Dankert reportedly told investigators that Crews had asked her to help him find someone interested in purchasing pills from him. She said she texted Gentry about the pills, who agreed to meet them at the park. They then drove away and parked the car. She said Gentry agreed to purchase eight pills for $40 each.
According to the criminal complaint, Dankert said she overheard Crews accusing Gentry of robbing his father last year just prior to Gentry leaving the car and walking away. At that point, Dankert said she first learned that there had been a gun involved.
Upon her arrival at the jail, Dankert also told officers that she had some pills hidden in her bra, as well as $100 in cash that Crews had given her for contacting Gentry and to keep quiet about the gun.
Crews and Ruelle face up to 40 years in prison if convicted of armed robbery.