Gun shop suspects possibly connected to string of convenience st - KCTV5

Gun shop suspects possibly connected to string of convenience store robberies

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Jon Bieker was killed, and his wife Becky was injured, when three men burst into She's A Pistol about 2:10 p.m. in an attempt to rob the store, which specializes in providing personal protection to women. Jon Bieker was killed, and his wife Becky was injured, when three men burst into She's A Pistol about 2:10 p.m. in an attempt to rob the store, which specializes in providing personal protection to women.
Shawnee police confirmed Saturday that they are working with the Kansas City, KS, Police Department detectives to determine whether gun shop suspects are behind five aggravated robberies from late December through Friday morning. Shawnee police confirmed Saturday that they are working with the Kansas City, KS, Police Department detectives to determine whether gun shop suspects are behind five aggravated robberies from late December through Friday morning.
SHAWNEE, KS (KCTV) -

Authorities are working to determine whether four men accused of getting into a shootout with the owner of She's A Pistol and killing him are also responsible for a string of armed convenience store robberies.

Shawnee police confirmed Saturday that they are working with the Kansas City, KS, Police Department detectives to determine whether gun shop suspects are behind five aggravated robberies from late December through Friday morning. KCK police declined to discuss the possible connection.

Jon Bieker was killed, and his wife Becky was injured, when three men burst into She's A Pistol about 2:10 p.m. in an attempt to rob the store, which specializes in providing personal protection to women. Jon Bieker managed to shoot three of the suspects. One of the injured suspects fled along with the getaway driver. Police said they arrested those two as they tried to gain entry at a nearby home.

The Johnson County Jail online booking records show four Kansas City men are being detained on suspicion of armed robbery. Two of the suspects will turn 20 years old later this month. One is 19 years old and the fourth is 18 years old.

KCTV5's policy is not to use names or mugshots until suspects are charged.

Less than 90 minutes after the Shawnee shooting, the KCK Police Department sent out a release to the news media asking for the public's help in identifying three suspects in convenience store robberies. The suspects were armed with pistols.

KCK police said the robberies occurred between Dec. 30 and Friday morning. Of the three suspects, Suspect No. 1 and Suspect No. 2 robbed the Fast Trip convenience store at 4039 Metropolitan Avenue. Those robberies occurred Dec. 30, Jan. 1 and Jan. 4. 

Suspect No. 1 and Suspect No. 3 robbed the Fast Stop at 945 S. 55th St. and the 7-Eleven at 2924 S. 47th St. Both those robberies occurred in the overnight hours before the Shawnee robbery.

Lohith Kumar Vermulaa believes that in less than a week, the same two men robbed his family's Fast Trip convenience store at least three times.

"They came inside and robbed the counter. The next incident they tried to hit him," he said.

Vermulaa was not working on the nights of the robberies, but has surveillance video of two of the nights the pair forced their way to the cash register. He says they stole cigarettes and cash. Video also shows them stealing the entire drawer off a cash register.

"The second day, they brought a gun with them and showed them the gun. That made them scared," Vermulaa said.

He says the string of robberies upset his family, and that the employee who was working was too scared to come into work Saturday night, but he says the police have made him feel secure about working there.

"The last incident when we pressed the scared button, the cops were here in two minutes, and so that makes us good at that time," he said.

News of the robbery and murder in Shawnee upset Vermulaa and his family, but he is glad the two thieves are behind bars.

Of the four suspects, two are in fair condition at Overland Park Regional Hospital. Another is already in jail. The final suspect's condition is unknown, but he did survive the shootout.

If you have any information about any of these crimes, call the TIPS Hotline at 816-474-TIPS.

Click here to leave your condolences for Becky Bieker. Click here to see photos of the suspects.

Becky Bieker has been discharged from the hospital. Two of the suspects are in fair condition at Overland Park Regional Hospital. One had been listed on Friday in critical condition. A third suspect remains hospitalized at the University of Kansas City Hospital.

Jon Bieker's family are now planning his funeral, and friends and family are surrounding Becky Bieker with love and support.

"He was a loving, protective husband, a fun-loving friend, and a brother loved dearly. He was always there to help his mom and family," his grieving sister, Andrea Smith, wrote in a text message to KCTV5's Nathan Vickers. "The family is grieving and missing him greatly. His death has left a huge hole in our lives."

Shawnee Councilwoman Michelle Distler is among those devastated by Friday's events. The Biekers opened their business about two years ago, and have been active in promoting downtown Shawnee.

"It's just a senseless tragedy. He died while devoting his life to teaching others how to defend themselves," Distler said. "Jon was one of the nicest people you'd ever meet in your life."

Murder charges could be filed on Monday against the suspects.

Distler has confidence that justice will be served.

"It is my expectation that the legal system will prevail and not let them get away with this," Distler said.

KCTV5's Nathan Vickers and Chris Oberholtz contributed to this report.

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