| by Dave
Armed robbery stymied by would-be victims
or the feckless felon who left empty-handedeither
could have been the headline after a young Parkville
man tried to rob the Parkville Sonic on Friday
but ran away with nothing instead.
It was a crime that conjured up the ghost of
Jesse James, the most famous outlaw in history,
who was raised just down the road in Kearney.
The criminal suspect was eventually taken down
by three undercover Platte County Sheriffs
vice officers who happened to be at the
right place at the right time, the undercover
officers told The Landmark.
On Friday at 1:23 p.m., a 19-year-old Parkville
man entered the Parkville Sonic, at 8700 NW 63rd
St., with a Western-style bandanna tied around
and covering the lower half of his face (not
unlike the James Gang uniform during the gangs
infamous train and bank robberies of the late
After entering the drive-in, the alleged suspect,
David Theiss, 19, of Parkville, reportedly ordered
Brad Nichols, the Sonic general manager to give
me all the money! said Lt. John Moyer, assistant
chief of the Parkville Police Department.
Theiss did not brandish a weapon during the attempted
robbery, but he had a 6-8 inch, wooden-handled
kitchen butcher knife on him, Moyer said.
Theiss reportedly was shaking vigorously and
appeared to be very nervous during the incident,
After the suspect demanded the money, the
manager yelled out for one of his cooks to come
around to the front, Moyer said. The
cook was a large man, a lot bigger than the robbery
suspect. When the robbery suspect looked at the
cook, the suspect turned and ran out of the store
and sprinted around the corner.
Theiss is about 5 feet, 9 inches tall, and weighs
about 150 pounds, according to the Parkville Police.
Theiss never got any money from the Sonic Drive-In.
Apparently, he was desperate for cash.
He lost his job about a month ago. He was living
between two residences: his girlfriends
home in Parkville and his brothers home
in Riverside, Lt. Moyer said.
Eric Zahnd, Platte County Prosecutor, on Tuesday
charged Theiss with attempted robbery in the second
degree, a class C felony.
If convicted of the crime, Theiss faces a maximum
sentence of 1 day to 1 year in the county jail
or 1-7 years in the Missouri state penitentiary
and/or a $5,000 fine, media liaison Jill Brockman
told The Landmark on Tuesday.
Though the armed robbery was foiled, Theiss apparently
conducted some prior planning.
The suspect was wearing two complete layers
of clothing during the crime. He shed one layer
while he was running away from the drive-in. The
butcher knife was found in the pants of the suspects
outer layer, Det. Chad Phillips, one of
the arresting officers, said.
Phillips, 32, is a Platte County Sheriffs
Department vice officer and a member of the elite
Platte County Multi-Jurisdictional Enforcement
Group (PACMEG). He has nine years of service on
PACMEG specializes in counter-acting drugs, vice
crimes, high risk tactical situations and scenarios
in which uniformed police officers could be compromised
because of their uniforms, said Capt. Frank Hunter,
spokesman for the Platte County Sheriffs
Phillips and fellow Platte County vice detectives,
Tyler Polsgrove, 27, and Charles Wood, 33, were
in Parkville on Friday handling separate investigations
into a bank robbery and a narcotics case.
We heard the call of armed robbery
in progress come over the radio, Polsgrove
"We happened to be about five minutes away
from the Sonic at the time, so we responded. The
radio said that the suspect was last seen running
behind the community center (to the south of the
The Platte County officers were quick to point
out that all law enforcement think of themselves
as members of a larger team.
Anytime we hear something like that (crime
in progress) over the radio, and we can be of
assistance, we try to help, Phillips said.
Dets. Phillips, Cosgrove and Wood arrived at
the community center just a minute or two after
the foiled robbery attempt. The vice officers
spoke with a citizen, an eyewitness, who claimed
to have seen the suspect just 30 seconds prior
to the detectives arrival.
We sprinted off after the robber. We got
a pretty good workout, Cosgrove said.
The officers had to climb over a chain leak fence,
sprint across an open field and then charge into
a woodline before they located the suspect, who
was sitting in the backyard of a house on Bell
He was obviously our guy. He was out of
breath, covered in mud, and sweat was dripping
off him, Cosgrove said.
The suspect, who turned out to be David Theiss,
initially told the officers that he was coming
from home and had nothing to do with the foiled
robbery but that he had seen another person running
away from the crime scene.
Theiss reportedly did not comply with the officers
demand that he assume a prone position on the
ground. Det. Phillips leveled his service weapon
at Theiss, who then complied with the officers
Theiss then resisted arrest slightly and had
to be overpowered by the vice officers, they said.
Dets. Tyler and Cosgrove found Theisss
discarded clothing in the woodline.
Parkville police took over the case following
their departments arrival on the scene.
Parkville is the lead agency since the crime occurred
in their municipal jurisdiction.
Theiss reportedly changed his story again, telling
officers that one to two other people assisted
him in the robbery attempt, Phillips, Cosgrove
and Lt. Moyer said.
Later Friday evening, Theiss confessed to the
crime to Parkville police officers.
It was a very well done case. It was well
coordinated between multiple agencies. It worked
out very well, Lt. Moyer said.
The suspect is being held in the Platte County
Detention Center on a cash-only bond of $25,000.