Tahlequah Daily Press

December 27, 2013

Man jailed following Christmas Eve robbery

By JOSH NEWTON
Staff Writer

TAHLEQUAH — One man is in jail and another is being sought after they allegedly robbed a man at gunpoint outside the Log Store south of Tahlequah on Christmas Eve.

James Conrad, 28, is held at the Cherokee County Detention Center for assault and battery with a deadly weapon, robbery by force or fear, resisting arrest and petit larceny. Conrad was given a $75,000 on the latest charges, but was denied bond on a previous case for which he was being sought, according to booking records.

According to Deputy Daniel Pruitt, Conrad and a second suspect got in Austin Truitt’s car at around 9 p.m. Tuesday while Truitt was waiting on a friend at the Log Store South. Conrad allegedly held a gun to Truitt’s head, demanded all of his money and threatened to shoot Truitt if he didn’t hand over his cash.

Truitt told deputies he grabbed his pocket knife and tried defend himself from Conrad. After Conrad and the other suspect attempted to take Truitt’s wallet, Truitt was able to flee from the car and run inside the store. Truitt and his friend, who was in the store, then went behind the counter with employees.

Witnesses said Conrad entered the store and tried to get Truitt and his buddy outside. Conrad and the second suspect then got into a vehicle and left the scene.

Cherokee Nation Deputy Marshal Preston Oosahwee later spotted the suspects and stopped them on U.S. Highway 62. Conrad and the second suspect both fled from the vehicle; Oosahwee was able to capture Conrad.

Conrad allegedly admitted he and the other man were involved in an armed robbery. Conrad claimed they had thrown a gun from the vehicle somewhere along U.S. 62, but said he didn’t know the exact location. Oosahwee later located the gun in front of the Cherokee Nation Marshal Service, a short distance from where he stopped the vehicle and arrested Conrad. Oosahwee said the gun was loaded and had several rounds in the magazine.

Deputies learned Conrad had previously entered the Log Store south of Tahlequah and had taken merchandise without paying for it. That merchandise was found on Conrad when he was arrested.

While speaking with authorities, Conrad allegedly admitted he and the second suspect went to the store to get beer and try to “buy some pills.” Conrad also allegedly told deputies the suspect who escaped was holding the gun when the two entered Truitt’s vehicle.

According to deputies, Conrad was “very intoxicated” when he was arrested. He had also received several cuts to his hands when Truitt retrieved a knife to defend himself, deputies said.

jnewton@tahlequahdailypress.com