Charges in county robberies

February 22, 2017

JEFFERSON — A?heroin addict suffering from withdrawal has been charged with multiple area robberies.

Brett Carlin, 29, of Sullivan, was charged Tuesday in Jefferson County Circuit Court across two criminal cases with armed robbery, armed robbery with threat of force, possessions of an illegally obtained prescription, possession of narcotic drugs and attempted theft in connection with January robberies at Ron’s Market in Helenville and the Bajwa Gas Station in Watertown and an attempted robbery at Clark Oil and Refining.

He reportedly told Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office investigators that he robbed Ron’s Market because he was having heroin withdrawals and the gas station was close to his residence in Sullivan.

While talking to Watertown police, Carlin reportedly noted that he had taken heroin earlier in the day on Jan. 30 and was starting to get sick in the afternoon. He described it as the dope taking over and his head telling him to “get money any way you can.”

Carlin made his initial appearance on the charges before Jefferson County Circuit Court Judge William Hue Tuesday.

On each case — one being armed robbery involving Ron’s Market and the other the armed robbery with threat of force, possessions of an illegally obtained prescription and possession of narcotic drugs involving Clark Gas Station — the judge set $10,000 signature bonds.

As conditions of his bonds, Carlin is not to possess or consume any controlled substances or drug paraphernalia without a prescription. In addition he is to have no presence at either Ron’s Market or at the Clark gas station in Watertown, nor possess any dangerous weap­ons.

He remains in custody at the Jefferson County Jail on a probation hold.

For the Ron’s Market robbery, Carlin faces a maximum sentence of 40 years if convicted. In the second case, he faces another 47 years if found guilty.

Carlin is scheduled for a preliminary hearing on Tuesday, March 28.

According to the criminal complaint, Carlin allegedly entered Ron’s Market, the BP gas station at the intersection of U.S. Highway 18 and County Highway D in Helenville, on Monday, Jan. 16, around 8:33 p.m.

He walked into the station and demanded money from the attendant, specifically asking for only $10 and $20 bills. He obtained an undisclosed amount of cash from the register and left on foot.

Video surveillance at the gas station showed the suspect outside the building when he had both hands outside his jacket. Prior to entering the building, he place his right hand in his sweatshirt pocket stretched out like he was holding a gun. According to the complaint, the attendant was not certain whether he was armed or not at the time of the robbery and turned over the money.

After getting the cash, the suspect fled out the south door to the west. The attendant observed him running on County Highway D and called 911.

Investigators from the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office had surveillance footage and description of the suspect, particularly a Carhartt knit hat and a white/black neoprene skull mask.

The criminal complaint stated that an anonymous caller reportedly led investigators to consider Carlin as a possible suspect. Carlin previously had a photo of himself on his Facebook page in the mask he wore during the robbery.

The complaint states that the caller indicated Carlin recently had lost his job and was in the process of being evicted due to his substance abuse problems. Investigators attempted to locate Carlin at his home, but were unsuccessful.

Subsequently, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office detectives were contacted by Watertown investigators who had apprehended Carlin in connection with two robberies in Watertown.

According to the complaint in the second case, Watertown officers were dispatched to Bajwa Gas Station on South Third Street at 8:11 p.m. in response to report of an attempted armed robbery.

A subject, later identified as Carlin, attempted to rob the store. He later told investigators “they wouldn’t give it up” in response to being reminded of the alleged robbery attempt.

According to the complaint, Carlin told police he entered the store and told the clerk behind the counter “open the register and give me the frickin’ money.” She refused and he reportedly told her not to be a hero.

When she persisted, Carlin said he told the clerk, “Don’t try and save yourself; just give me the (expletive) money.”

The complaint states that he was wearing a hooded sweatshirt that obstructed his view of seeing the clerk pick up a piece of wood and strike him with it as he reached across the counter to try to open the register with force. He fled on foot after being struck.

After leaving, he drove around for 10 or 15 minutes before deciding to go to the other Clark Gas Station on East Main Street.

While in the store, he lingered by the soda coolers, at one point taking out a knife and opening it, as observed on the surveillance video.

Carlin also is a suspect in a Dec. 30 robbery at the same station.

According to the complaint, he almost changed his mind, but did it anyway because he needed more heroin. Carlin told investigators “it took a while for the dope to take over for him to do the deed.”

He went to the counter to purchase a soda and when the clerk opened the register, he placed his hand on the counter holding the three-inch knife and told the clerk “don’t be a hero” or “give me the rest of what’s in the drawer” and started to grab cash.

Surveillance footage showed the suspect in both robberies wearing the same clothes. His face was visible in the footage and investigators were able to identify Carlin based on prior contact with him.

According to the complaint, he eventually was apprehended during a traffic stop after investigators were directed to his location by his mother, who was concerned that he might overdose.

Two baggies of heroin were found in a container tossed from the van.

According to the complaint, Carlin told police that his friend, a passenger in the van, doesn’t have a driver’s license so he would drive him to Milwaukee to get heroin and would get a cut as payment.

The friend acknowledged that he suspected Carlin’s involvement in at least the Helenville robbery.