It was a busy afternoon for the Great Bend Police Department Wednesday with a traffic stop that resulted in multiple drug charges and turned into a manhunt for a possibly armed suspect, and an unrelated robbery in a discount store parking lot.
“We always strive to do the best we can with the resources available to us, but it’s obviously a real challenge to deal when so many things are happening at once,” Police Chief Cliff Couch said. “That makes it more important than ever for us to work with the public.”
First, at about 3 p.m. Wednesday, Great Bend Police Department detective Adam Hales observed a suspicious vehicle circling the area around Great Bend High School. A vehicle fitting this description was the subject of an earlier tip which indicated it might be involved in dealing drugs.
Hales stopped the vehicle due to a traffic infraction at 17th and Stone. When the vehicle pulled over, three passengers fled the vehicle. The driver (a juvenile) remained with the vehicle and was taken into custody by Hales.
Other officers responded to the area. Officer Joel Hamlin located one of the passengers (later identified as Luis Sepulveda, 18,) and followed him to a house in the 1700 block of Williams Street. Sheriff’s detective Sharon Wondra was also in the area at this time and discovered that Sepulveda was hiding in a shed behind one of the houses.
She and Hamlin took Sepulveda into custody. Officers later discovered Sepulveda’s wallet in the shed and it contained a large quantity of cash and smelled strongly of marijuana.
Sepulveda was booked into jail on charges of Possession of drugs and obstruction of justice. The juvenile was charged with Possession of Drugs.
Intelligence obtained by officers prior to the traffic stop indicated that one of the subjects might have a handgun, and items found in the car led officers to believe this was true.
The two subjects that fled from the car stop were described as males, one was wearing a gray hoodie-style sweatshirt and the other was wearing a black hoodie-style sweatshirt. Officers are unsure of their race or other further descriptors.
Meanwhile, while officers were searching the area for the remaining two passengers, Barton County 911 received another call for service indicating that a woman had been robbed in the Wal-mart parking lot. When officers responded, they discovered that the victim had been approached by a man who pushed her and took a container she was holding in her hands. He then ran away toward the north.
The subject from the parking lot robbery is described as a Hispanic male wearing a red hoodie style sweatshirt.
“If anyone knows anything about either of these incidents, I hope they’ll reach out to us and help us locate these suspects,” Couch said.
Adding fuel to this fire was an unrelated fire. During the time that officers were dealing with the aforementioned incidents, officers and firefighters were summoned to the area of Forest and Washington streets in reference to a vehicle that burst into flames. Firefighters were able to safely extinguish the fire and no one was harmed.
As for the missing suspects in the traffic stop and robbery, the Police Department continues its investigation. Couch asks anyone with information contact the department at 620-793-4120 or Crimestoppers at 620-792-1300.