Last night, shortly before 7:00pm, officers with the Grand Junction Police Department were dispatched to a report of a robbery that had just occurred at First National Pawn, located at 2892 North Avenue, Unit B.
Witnesses stated that a male subject entered the store and requested to see a handgun that was in a display case. An employee removed the gun from the case, checked it to ensure it wasn’t loaded, and then placed the gun on the counter. The male subject quickly grabbed the gun and ran from the store. Employees chased the male, yelling for him to stop and return the gun. The male attempted to strike store employees with the gun, making contact at least once and striking one employee in the head. Eventually, after a short pursuit and struggle, employees were able to detain the suspect briefly, before another male began approaching them with what appeared to be a baton and a taser in his hands. The employees feared for their safety and let the male suspect go. At that point, both suspects got in a black sedan and fled the area. Store employees were able to recover the gun.
In this timeframe, an officer located a car matching the description of the suspect vehicle in the area. The officer observed the vehicle park at a nearby bar, and saw two males exit the vehicle and enter the business through the front doors. Other units arrived on scene and a perimeter was established around the building. Soon after, both males were seen exiting the rear doors of the bar and running from the address. Within minutes, after a short foot pursuit, both males were placed into custody. They were identified as Sean Willis, 24, and Levi VanPelt, 34.
A search of Willis and VanPelt, as well as their vehicle, resulted in the recovery of a firearm, a baton, and a taser. Officers also found a schedule III controlled substance, for which no prescription could be provided, as well as a small container of a substance that tested positive for methamphetamine. A criminal history was conducted on both males and revealed that both are previous offenders, and are not allowed to own or possess firearms.
VanPelt was arrested for Aggravated Robbery (F3), Felony Menacing (F5), Possession of a Schedule II Controlled Substance (DF4), Possession of a Schedule III Controlled Substance (DM1), Possession of Weapons by a Previous Offender (F6), Display of Plates Not Assigned/Unregistered Vehicle, Obstructing Police (M2), Complicity (F3), and Use of a Stun Gun (F5).
Willis was arrested for Aggravated Robbery (F3), Possession of a Weapon by a Previous Offender (F6), Assault in the Second Degree (F4), Possession of a Schedule II Controlled Substance (DF4), Criminal Mischief (M2), Theft (M3), and Obstructing Police (M2).
A current booking photo of Willis is not available at this time.