Updated: July 7, 2013 8:03PM
Five investigators assigned to the Aurora Police Department’s Special Operations Group are sharing Employee of the Month honors for May after teaming together to solve two gas station robberies on the city’s Far Northeast side.
Investigators Nick Gartner, Dave Tellner, Josh Sullivan, Clark Johnson, and Abel Villanueva were honored for their actions that led to charges against a 28-year-old Aurora man in connection with the robberies that occurred on March 19 and March 22 in the 1300 and 1500 blocks of Butterfield Road.
In the first armed robbery, a gun was fired during the commission of the crime, but no one was injured.
On March 20, while providing beefed-up police presence in the 1300 block of Butterfield, Gartner and Tellner came across a man sitting in a vehicle in the parking lot of the gas station that had been robbed the night before. After noticing that the individual, who the officers knew from previous contacts, was acting suspiciously, they asked if they could take photos of him for intelligence purposes and the man complied. They then left the area.
On March 22, the gas station in the 1500 block of Butterfield, which was directly across from the first robbery, was held up at gunpoint. After reviewing surveillance video, Tellner noticed that the clothing of the suspect was the same as that being worn by the man who he photographed.
On April 3, the five investigators conducted surveillance of the suspect’s residence on Aurora’s west side and waited until he entered the rear seat of a vehicle. Once the vehicle pulled away they conducted a traffic stop, took the suspect into custody, and located a loaded handgun near where the man was sitting in the vehicle.
After being brought into the police station, the suspect admitted his part in the robberies.
Aurora Chief of Police Greg Thomas said that “the teamwork displayed by these five officers prevented future armed robberies which may have resulted in someone being seriously injured or killed.”