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Robbery suspect pleads guilty

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The first of four defendants in a Bolivar armed robbery case reached a plea deal this week.

According to online court records, Robert C. Register, 19, of Warsaw will spend 120 days in shock incarceration after pleading guilty to class A felony first-degree robbery and class D felony stealing in Polk County Circuit Court Monday, Feb. 4.   

Robert register.jpg

Robert Register

He originally faced an additional charge — felony armed criminal action — but that charge was dismissed as part of Register’s plea deal with Polk County Prosecuting Attorney Ken Ashlock.

In accordance with the deal, Judge Michael O’Brien Hendrickson sentenced Register to 10 years in prison on the robbery charge and five years on the stealing charge, but he will be eligible for release following the successful completion of the shock incarceration.  

He was indicted by a Polk County grand jury in September.

According to probable cause statements, Register, along with three others, stole around $920 in merchandise from Bolivar’s Walmart on Friday, July 13, prior to an alleged armed robbery of Fast N Friendly East near the intersection of Mo. 32 and Rt. D.

Two suspects — Brandon Scott Searl and Michael Frank Register — demanded the gas station’s clerk and the store's only customer get on the floor and give them money and cigarettes, statements said. The pair wore masks and hooded long-sleeved sweatshirts.

The statements said Searl was carrying a 9 mm handgun.

Bolivar PD's Lt. Roger Barron said the pair stole around $600 from the gas station.

Hickory County deputies apprehended Searl and another suspect, Elena Marie Ornelas, the first night after the suspects fled north on Rt. D. in a minivan.

Robert Register was arrested in Hickory County Saturday night, July 14, at Searl's sister's home near Pittsburg, and Michael Register was arrested after family members brought him to the Bolivar Police Department Monday night, July 16.

The remaining three suspects’ cases are also nearing conclusion.

Searl — affiliated with the MS-13 gang, according to court documents — is charged with class A felony first-degree robbery, felony armed criminal action, class D felony forgery and class D felony stealing.

He will face a Polk County jury May 30-31, according to online court records. He remains in custody on $160,000 bond.

Ornelas, who is charged with class A felony first-degree robbery, felony armed criminal action, class D felony second-degree burglary and class D felony stealing, will face a Polk County jury May 1-3. She is held on $150,000 bond.

Michael Register’s next hearing is Tuesday, Feb. 19.

Charged with class A felony first-degree robbery, felony armed criminal action and class D felony stealing, he is being held on $135,000 bond.

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