Third arrest in pot robbery gone bad

Danny Evans

VANCOUVER, WASH. - A third man has been arrested in connection with a Halloween night attempted robbery and assault on a medical marijuana provider in the Grant County, Ore., community of Long Creek.

The Grant County Sheriff's Office said Danny Bruce Evans, 53, of Vancouver, Wash., had been lodged in the Clark County Jail since Nov. 4 after being picked up on a probation violation. On Nov. 6, authorities charged him with being a fugitive from justice and served a warrant out of Grant County for first-degree robbery and conspiracy to commit robbery.

Grant County Undersheriff Todd McKinley said Evans previously lived in the Pendleton area and was acquainted with the two other suspects.

McKinley also said this week that the crime was "not random" and that the suspects specifically targeted the victim's residence. Other sources said the third man had been acquainted with the family that lived there.

In another development, Oregon State Police (OSP) detectives with a search warrant searched a vehicle in the Pendleton area on Nov. 6 and recovered a gun believed to be used during the crime.

The Halloween fracas began about 8:18 p.m. when two masked men went to the home of David Verstoppen on Second Street in Long Creek. Verstoppen's marijuana plants have won honors in a competition for Oregon medical marijuana providers.

Investigators believe that the men were trying to steal marijuana from the home.

Police said one man pulled a gun on Verstoppen, who managed to get a hand on the gun and begin a struggle with the gunman. The second man went into the home and began hitting Verstoppen with a golf club.

Verstoppen's wife and her sister were in the home at the time, along with a 2-year-old child. Police said the women took the toddler and fled to a nearby residence, where they called 9-1-1.

The two men fled after the gun discharged. Police initially believed no one was hit by gunfire.

Police later stopped a car believed to be involved in the robbery attempt on Highway 395 near Pendleton. The driver sped away and later stopped on Highway 74. Two occupants fled on foot, and one was captured at the scene.

Lance Sanchez, 28, of Milton-Freewater, was arrested and is being held in the Umatilla County Jail.

Police on Saturday, Nov. 1, arrested Bobby Lee Ruston, 31, of Pendleton, at a private residence in Walla Walla, Wash. Ruston, who had outstanding warrants, had suffered a gunshot wound to his right hand. He was taken to a Walla Walla area jail.

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