A man and a woman suspected in a string of armed robberies in Minnesota and South Dakota were caught Monday afternoon near Cozad after a short chase on U.S. Highway 30.Around 3:40 p.m. Monday, a Nebraska State Trooper saw a light-colored Ford Crown Victoria heading west on I-80 near the Lexington Interchange, Nebraska State Patrol spokeswoman Deb Collins said.
The car and plate number matched the description of a car wanted in connection with a series of armed robberies. The trooper called for backup and followed the car, which left the Interstate at the Darr Interchange in Dawson County.
The suspects traveled north about a mile to U.S. Highway 30, where they headed west. A second trooper arrived and a traffic stop was initiated. The suspects pulled over to the shoulder, but sped off as the troopers approached them, Collins said.
A short pursuit ensued westbound on U.S. 30. Approximately two miles west of Cozad, the Crown Vic had engine trouble and pulled to the side of the road and the suspects were apprehended.
The man driving, Jarrod E. Birch, 24, of Virginia Beach, Va., and a female passenger, Alyssa N. Beard, 19, of Virginia Beach were both arrested.
Collins said a search of the vehicle uncovered three handguns and burglary tools. The guns are believed to have been used during recent robberies in Minnesota and South Dakota, Collins said.
The suspects were taken to the Dawson County Jail. Birch is charged with felony flight to avoid arrest, willful reckless driving, felon in possession of a firearm, carrying a concealed weapon and possession of stolen property.
Beard, who is listed as a missing person from Petersburg, Va., is also in the Dawson County Jail, charged with possession of stolen property and carrying a concealed weapon, Collins said