UPDATED: Robbery wasn't exactly a robbery, chief says; 'victim' arrested as well

Thursday, December 20, 2012

EUREKA SPRINGS -- A Holiday Island man has been arrested after police say he admitted lying to investigators when he said he was robbed Tuesday afternoon in a Subway parking lot in Eureka Springs.

Blake Osborne, 31, had earlier told police a man stole $120 from his car while he was inside the store and, when Osborne confronted him, brandished an 8-inch blade at him.

As Osborne left the Subway, Osborne had told police, he had witnessed Samuel Alburtis -- 23, of Beaver Town -- reach into his vehicle and take the cash from beneath his wallet, which was sitting on the center console, according to police reports released Wednesday.

Osborne said he had yelled at Alburtis, who then jumped into his own vehicle and waved an approximately 8-inch-long blade at him before speeding off, the reports said.

Undeterred, Osborne told police, he got in his own car and pursued Alburtis through the Historic Loop, meanwhile calling 911.

Osborne told Carroll County dispatcher Jennifer Cribbs that Alburtis was throwing glass and wood out his windows -- in an apparent attempt to flatten his tires.

Just west of the two-lane bridge on Highway 23 North, however, Alburtis pulled off the road and left his vehicle -- according to Osborne's account. There, Osborne told police, Alburtis once again began waving the knife and goading Osborne to leave his own car.

Instead, Osborne said, he backed off the road -- later telling police he feared being attacked.

Carroll County Sheriff's Deputy Jennifer Sibley -- who was off duty at the time -- had responded to the 911 call.

Osborne told Sibley Alburtis had stolen $250 from him, according to the incident report she later filed -- Osborne later placed the amount at $120, when Cpl. Joel Hand questioned him at his home.

When Alburtis saw Sibley, he reportedly jumped back into his vehicle and sped away down County Road 222.

After speaking with Sibley, Osborne also left the scene.

Alburtis was arrested Wednesday and charged with Aggravated Robbery, Breaking or Entering, and Theft. However, Hyatt said those charges would be amended because Osborne had since admitted to falsifying certain portions of his account.

Hyatt said that, in light of Osborne's confession, the incident was beginning to look like a "drug deal gone bad." He said investigators believed Alburtis and an accomplice had arranged to sell Osborne drugs, with the intention of stealing his money.

They met at Subway for the exchange. However, once Osborne handed over the cash, Hyatt said they took off. The chief also indicated that Alburtis had not brandished the knife until the second encounter, on Highway 23 South.

Osborne and Alburtis are currently being held at the Carroll County Detention Center. Hyatt said investigators planned to arrest a second suspect in the theft in coming days and were considering whether to file drug charges against those involved.

Editor's Note: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that Osborne was a resident of Eureka Springs. He actually lives in Holiday Island, according to police.

View 1 comment
Note: The nature of the Internet makes it impractical for our staff to review every comment. Please note that those who post comments on this website may do so using a screen name, which may or may not reflect a website user's actual name. Readers should be careful not to assign comments to real people who may have names similar to screen names. Refrain from obscenity in your comments, and to keep discussions civil, don't say anything in a way your grandmother would be ashamed to read.
  • Only in Arkansas.

    -- Posted by asdfman on Thu, Dec 20, 2012, at 8:05 PM
Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: