A pair of men wearing ski masks Monday morning robbed the Devin Oil Co. in Heppner, but an Oregon State Police sergeant nabbed the suspects after two car chases.
Shawn Michael Mayes, 18, of Hermiston, and Cory Edward Reiner, 37, of Umatilla, are in the Umatilla County Jail, charged with second-degree robbery and first-degree aggravated theft, both felonies. State police also charged Mayes with harassment and menacing, both misdemeanors.
A female employee of the company at 733 W. Riverside St. called 9-1-1 at 7:03 a.m. after two men made off with cash and checks, Morrow County Sheriff Ken Matlack said in a written statement. One of the suspects struggled with the employee and yanked a money container from her.
The men fled in a maroon-colored vehicle, and the sheriff’s office put out a call to find that car. At about 7:55 a.m., OSP Sgt. Sterling Hall, southbound on Highway 207, gave chase after spotting the vehicle going north.
The pair left Highway 207 and entered the employee parking lot of Shearer Foods just south of Hermiston, where they crashed over parking curbs. Employees pointed Hall to the direction the men had fled on foot.
The suspects commandeered the vehicle of a woman coming to work and with her still aboard tried again to get away. Hall intercepted the car after a short chase and arrested the suspects without further incident. The woman employee was unharmed.
Umatilla County records show Reiner has a 2010 conviction for a drug offense. Mayes has three cases pending for possession of methamphetamine and weapons charges.
The online county jail roster shows Reiner’s bail set at $62,500 and Mayes’ at $65,500 for the latest charges. OSP also arrested Mayes on warrants for two of his criminal cases.
The robbery offense falls under Measure 11, Oregon’s mandatory minimum prison sentencing law. A conviction for the charge could bring a prison term of five years, 10 months, depending on if an offender has no prior serious felony convictions.
Devin Oil Co. owner Dick Devin said his employee wasn’t injured, but the theft “scared the dickens out of her, as you can imagine.”
He also said the men tried to steal “quite a bit” of money but didn’t know the exact amount. Matlack reported all the money was recovered. Devin said police still have it and he hopes the business will get the funds today.
He also was taken back by the whole situation.
“In today’s society and small towns,” he said, “it’s pretty hard to relate to that kind of stuff.”