Watertown teen enters not guilty plea to armed robbery charge

Avery Bence

JUNEAU — A 17-year-old Watertown boy entered a not-guilty plea to a charge of armed robbery of a gas station on North University Avenue last November in Beaver Dam.

Avery Bence, who entered the plea Tuesday in Dodge County Circuit Court, faces a felony charge of robbery with the use of force and a misdemeanor charge of battery for using pepper spray on an employee at the gas station before taking several packs of cigarettes.

Bence could face up to 15 years in prison for the felony charge.

The name of the gas station was not named in the criminal complaint, but the only gas station on North University Avenue in Beaver Dam is Casey’s.

According to the criminal complaint, two younger masked men entered the gas station at 12:44 a.m. Nov. 28. One of the men, who was later identified as Bence, sprayed the clerk with pepper spray and the same person selected several packs of Marlboro Red 72s.

The clerk attempted to detain the men, but they both were able to flee the area on foot. However, the clerk was able to remove the masks on both suspects. Some merchandise in the store was damaged by the suspects, too, the complaint stated.

Police obtained the video footage from the assistant manager. According to the criminal complaint, Beaver Dam Police did a Wisconsin Crime Alert on Dec. 1 and found a tip about Bence being the primary suspect.

Investigators spoke to the mother of Bence, who confirmed he was the one in the photos from the gas station. Bence said he was asked by the other people he was with to steal the cigarettes, but refused to identify who he was with that night.

Bence did admit to investigators he sprayed the clerk with pepper spray, the complaint said.

He also told police he wanted to sell the cigarettes to an 18 or 19 year old because in Wisconsin a person needs to be 21 to purchase them.

Thatcher Sehrbrock, 18, of Watertown, was also charged with armed robbery in the alleged crime and his arraignment is scheduled for Aug. 18 in Dodge County Circuit Court.

Bence has a telephone scheduling conference set for Aug. 20

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