'Robbery' wasn't exactly a robbery, chief says; 'victim' arrested as well

Thursday, December 27, 2012

A Eureka Springs man has been arrested after police say he admitted lying to investigators when he said he was robbed Tuesday afternoon in a Subway parking lot.

Blake Osborne, 31, of Eureka Springs, had earlier told police a man stole $120 from his car while he was inside the store and, when Osborne confronted him, brandished an 8-inch blade at him.

As Osborne left the Subway, Osborne had told police, he allegedly had witnessed Samuel Alburtis, 23, reach into his vehicle and take the cash from beneath his wallet, which was sitting on the center console, according to police reports released last week.

Osborne said he had yelled at Alburtis, who then jumped into his own vehicle and waved an approximately 8-inch-long blade at him before speeding off, police reports said.

Undeterred, Osborne told police, he got in his own car and pursued Alburtis through the Historic Loop, meanwhile calling police.

As he spoke with Carroll County dispatchers, Osborne said Alburtis was throwing glass and wood out his windows -- in an apparent attempt to flatten his tires.

Just before the two reached the two-lane bridge on Highway 23 North, however, Alburtis pulled off the road and left his vehicle -- according to Osborne's account in police reports. There, Osborne told police, he once again began waving the knife and goading Osborne to leave his own car.

Instead, Osborne said that he backed off the road -- later telling police he feared being attacked.

Speaking late last week, Police Chief Earl Hyatt said Carroll County Sheriff's Deputy Jennifer Sibley -- who was off duty at the time -- had responded to the 911 call.

When Alburtis saw Sibley, he reportedly jumped back into his vehicle and sped away down County Road 222.

Alburtis was arrested Wednesday and charged with Aggravated Robbery, Breaking or Entering, and Theft. However, Hyatt said those charges would be amended after Osborne since admitted to falsifying certain portions of his account.

Hyatt said that, in light of Osborne's confession, the incident was beginning to look like a "drug deal gone bad." He said investigators believed Alburtis and an accomplice had arranged to sell Osborne drugs, with the intention of stealing his money.

They met at Subway for the exchange. However, once Osborne handed over the $120, Hyatt said they took off. The chief also indicated that Alburtis had not brandished the knife until the second encounter, on Highway 23 North.

Osborne and Alburtis are currently being held at the Carroll County Detention Center. Hyatt said investigators planned to arrest a second suspect in the theft in coming days and were considering whether to file drug charges against those involved.

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  • Only dopes do dope.

    -- Posted by rockpilefarmer on Thu, Dec 27, 2012, at 4:44 PM
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