(COLIN HAFFNER/Chewelah Independent)
WHITTY’S GAS STATION ROBBERY: Second man arrested in May armed robbery…
A second man has been arrested in conjunction with the May 7 robbery of Whitty’s Gas Station in Colville following an explanation of events by the perpetrator of the robbery, Jonathan Johnston,
Dylan Manke became a person of interest by the police during the investigation and his role was confirmed during an interview with Johnston preceeding his extradition back to Stevens County.
Based on Johnston’s statements, an arrest warrant was issued and carried out on June 10 for Manke on four counts of robbery in the first degree, theft in the second degree, unlawful posession of a firearm in the first degree, and theft of a firearm.
An initial arrest warrant was issued for Johnston following the robbery based on witness statements, interviews, and footage.
According to reports and statements, an employee of Whitty’s was approached by a man with a pistol wearing “yoga style” pants on his head and dark clothes that appeared covered in mud. The man had the employee fill a white plastic bag with money and then led the employee across the street to Builders Shopping Center by gunpoint, warning the employee that he had two snipers trained on him if he moved.
Witness statements and video footage lead the police to believe the robber was one of two men before determining it was Johnston based on the location of a tattoo, voice recordings from the footage and confirmation by Johnston’s family that they believed he was the man in the video footage.
Johnston eventually turned himself in in California while reportedly fleeing to Mexico and was extradited back to Stevens County by two Colville police officers.
Officers conducted an interview with Johnston while at the Inyo County Jail in Independence, CA where Johnston ultimately explained the events of the robbery and detailed Manke’s involvement.
According to Johnston’s statement, the Whitty’s robbery was the end result of a variety of different plans to make money that involved Manke and another man. After initial ideas, which included taking out an insurance policy on another person, then killing them for the insurance money and robbing and killing a drug dealer in Canada then swimming with the drugs down the Columbia River to cross the border, fell through due to Johnston’s reluctance to be a “trigger man,” the other man dropped out of the plans leaving just Johnston and Manke to carry on.
Johnston implicated Manke as the instigator for many of the plans that came about because Johnston said he was distressed financially after he lost his job due to legal fees and troubles. He told police that Manke and the other man approached him about the insurance idea, suggested robbing and killing the drug dealer to leave no witnesses and provided the access to the Tangfolio 10mm used in the robbery.
The police report explained that after the other man opted out of the plans, Johnston said he and Manke continued to work out ideas on how to make money, opting to rob a store in order to have enough money for their plans in Canada.
When Johnston asked about getting a gun, he told police Manke said he knew where to get one, saying his grandpa had one that “he was no longer allowed to possess,” the police report said, adding that Manke stole the gun from the property while Johnston distracted Manke’s grandpa.
Once the two had procured the firearm, Johnston said they made plans to rob the Taco Bell/KFC in Colville because it had an easy way to get out of town quickly. Manke dropped Johnston off at the storage units on Buena Vista around 10 p.m. as it was close to the closing time of the business, Johnston said.
From there, Johnston told police he went off into the marsh and laid down, covering himself in mud, but when he was ready to perform the robbery he noticed a truck with a bar light on top nearby that he suspected to be a law enforcement vehicle. Johnston chose to wait for the vehicle to leave and said he missed the window to rob the restaurant so he returned to meet with Manke, who was waiting at a prearranged spot.
The two drove off down the road, but saw the employee outside of Whitty’s, Johnston said in the interview. That was when Johnston said he decided to rob the Whitty’s, coming away with about $1,300 total.
Once the robbery was completed, Johnston then told police he went to McDonald Park where he and Manke agreed to meet, and the two drove out of town via Aladdin Road. They drove for a while before stopping and counting the money, Johnston said.
Johnston then explained that he and Manke waited a bit before returning to town where they went to the Walmart and purchased a phone and some movies, then returned to an RV on Ray Williams to watch movies and recount the money.
The next day both Johnston and Manke fled to Spokane, going to a strip club before realizing the police were looking for Johnston, the report said, adding that the two stayed at a hotel in Spokane that night and Johnston opted to flee the following day.
Manke reportedly gave Johnston the remainder of the money from the robbery, and Johnston drove south toward Mexico.
Johnston told the police he ran out of money in California, and that was when he decided to turn himself in.
Manke signed an acknowledgement of his advised rights and the charges in a document dated June 17 and had bail set at $250,000. If he is found guilty, Manke could face life imprisonment.