Wednesday, December 6, 2023

[UPDATE- Suspect in Custody, One Still at Large] Law Enforcement Searching Willits After Reported Armed Cannabis Robbery in Burger King Parking Lot


According to scanner reports, an armed cannabis robbery involving one pound of product occurred at 5:45 p.m. in the Willits Burger King parking lot on Main street

Willits Police Department is currently searching for vehicles and individuals thought to be related to the incident. One vehicle thought to be involved includes a Black Toyota 4Runner or Sequoia with Florida plates driven by a white, male adult described as clean cut. Another vehicle thought to be involved is a white Subaru driven by a white female adult that was reported to be following the black Toyota.

Scanner reports indicate law enforcement has spotted the Black Toyota 4Runner with Florida plates on Highway 101 north of Willits.

This article is based on initial reports and will be updated as the situation evolves.

UPDATE 6:10 p.m.

The police pursuit of the 4Runner continues north of Willits, according to scanner reports. Officers are telling dispatch the speed has been between 55-65 mph and the driver has been switching lanes.

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UPDATE 6:17 p.m.

The officer told dispatch that the 4Runner is approaching Laytonville and has crossed double yellow lines exceeding 100 mph. CHP from Garberville could be deploying spike strips to intervene in the pursuit, according to the scanner.

UPDATE 6:24 p.m.

According to the scanner, the vehicle pursuit has turned into a foot pursuit after a vehicle collision and with the driver bailed in Laytonville. A resident reported seeing the individual jump a fence near the Laytonville Fire House near Branscomb Road.

UPDATE 6:43 p.m.

Law enforcement is currently searching for the suspect in Laytonville near Harwood Park. Law enforcement personnel noticed a white Subaru in the area which dispatch reminded officers was mentioned in preliminary reports to be following the 4Runner.

UPDATE 7:16 p.m.

In a statement regarding the on-going situation, Mendocino County Sheriff Office’s Public Information Officer Captain Greg Van Patton told us, “some sort of robbery occurred at Burger King parking lot in Willits and the suspect vehicle was spotted near Laytonville and crashed during pursuit. Deputies including K-9 unit looking for suspect(s) now.” He described the suspect being pursued as a white male adult.

UPDATE 7:27 p.m.

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Laytonville resident Roland Spence sent the picture below explaining the suspect “crashed into the liquor store in Laytonville” and “took out our community Xmas tree.” He told us that, “according to some local officials, deputies are currently preparing the dogs – getting the scent.”

The suspect’s black SUV smashed into Laytonville’s community Christmas tree [Picture from Roland Spence]

UPDATE 8:49 p.m.

Mendocino County Sheriff Office’s Public Information Officer Captain Greg Van Patton told us that K-9 Officer “Bo” successfully tracked the suspect who is now in custody.

Bo” on the scene of the vehicle collision that led to the suspect leaving on foot [Picture provided by Captain Van Patten]

UPDATE 9:50 p.m.

Mendocino County Sheriff Office’s Captain Greg Van Patten informed us that there is still one suspect outstanding. He said the driver has yet to be found but deputies have his identity. The apprehended suspect was the vehicle’s passenger.

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Matt LaFever
Matt LaFeverhttps://mendofever.com/
I like to think of myself as a reporter for the Average Joe. Journalism has become a craft defined largely by city dwellers on America's coasts. It’s time to take it back. I have been an Emerald Triangle resident since 2006 and this is year ten in Mendocino County. Please, email me at matthewplafever@gmail.com if you know a story that needs to be told.

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