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Two 16-year olds accused of gas station armed robbery

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Courier-Times Staff Report

Henry County Prosecutor Joe Bergacs has charged two Anderson High School students for allegedly robbing the Middletown GetGo at gunpoint in April.

According to court documents, Austin Steward and John Rothert, both 16, pled not guilty Tuesday to the charge of armed robbery, a Level 3 felony.

In Indiana, level 3 felonies are punishable by three to 16 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

Middletown police responded to an armed robbery call at the GetGo gas station on Ind. 236 around 2:45 a.m. April 13.

The cashier reportedly told police the suspect wore “a gold brown mask, red Air Jordan long sleeve shirt, skinny jeans and black shoes” and a backpack.

According to the police report, surveillance footage also showed the suspect holding a blue steel semi-automatic gun.

The suspect allegedly stole around $60 in cash, as well as Swisher Sweet cigars and JUUL e-cigarettes.

Middletown Police Chief Amanda Kirby said there were no injuries or property damage reported from the incident.

During the investigation, Middletown police learned of a gas station burglary in Carthage involving a juvenile nicknamed “Swiper.” The juvenile is currently a student at Anderson High School and reportedly friends with Steward.

Police also interviewed Steward, Rothert and the juvenile at Anderson High School April 19.

Middletown police report Steward initially denied having any involvement with the alleged robbery, although he reported hearing the juvenile and Rothert talk about it.

According to the report, Rothert initially denied being involved with the robbery, as well.

The juvenile reportedly told police Rothert and Steward left a Daleville home the night of the incident with “a red sweatshirt, Halloween mask and the handgun.”

According to the police report, the teens returned later with JUUL products and approximately $60 in cash. The juvenile reportedly told Middletown police the red sweatshirt and backpack were burned sometime in the night in an attempt to destroy evidence.

Police report Rothert later gave them details of giving Steward a gun and riding in the car with him to the GetGo gas station.

Officers searched Rothert home and reportedly found the gun and shoes used in the robbery.

During further interviews, Steward reportedly “threw his hands in the air and stated several times ‘I did it’” and gave a detailed account of the robbery.

Steward allegedly told police he robbed the gas station with a handgun Rothert gave him.

Rothert, Steward and the juvenile were taken into custody following the interviews. Rothert and Steward reportedly had JUUL e-cigarettes or JUUL chargers on them at the time of their arrests.

Prosecutor Bergacs filed felony armed robbery charges April 26 against Rothert and Steward. The teens, charged as adults, had their initial hearings Tuesday in Henry Circuit Court 1. Both pled not guilty.

Jury trials for Rothert and Steward are scheduled for 8:30 a.m. Aug. 26.