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Jacob Kraus Pleads Guilty in U.S. Federal Cour

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, February 20, 2009

Bill Mercer, United States Attorney for the District of Montana, announced today that during a federal court session in Billings on February 18, 2009, before Chief U.S. District Judge Richard F. Cebull, JACOB KRAUS, age 21, pled guilty to Hobbs Act robbery and carrying or using a firearm during a crime of violence. Sentencing is set for May 20, 2009. He is currently detained.

In an Offer of Proof filed by the United States, the government stated it would have proved at trial the following:

On October 8, 2007, at about 10:30 p.m., Montana inmates JACOB KRAUS and Jordan Adams were reported missing from the Helena Pre-Release Center.

On October 9, 2007, at about 2:50 a.m., three men entered the Thriftway store in Butte and robbed it at gunpoint. When interviewed, the victim reported that three men had come into the store. One pointed a black handgun at him and demanded money. The victim described the man with the firearm as wearing a red hooded sweatshirt and a blue bandanna across his face. This man was later identified as Camille Adams. The victim described seeing tattoos across Camille Adams' knuckles. The victim described the second male, who was stationed directly beside Camille Adams, as wearing a dark hooded sweatshirt and a dark bandanna covering his face. The second male was later identified as Jordan Adams. The third male, who was primarily responsible for taking items as the other two restrained the victim at gunpoint, was later identified as JACOB KRAUS.

The victim told police that during the robbery he was forced to his knees. He said the gun was pointed at the back of his head and Camille Adams 'clicked' the handgun several times in what he thought was an apparent attempt to discharge the firearm. He said he was terrified. During this time, the victim said he heard one of the two men nearest him communicating with KRAUS. The business reported that the three robbers took approximately $40 in cash, beer and cigarettes.

Officers investigating this incident reviewed video surveillance of the robbery and they observed Camille Adams was wearing a red baseball cap. During the incident, a red bandanna covering Camille Adams' right wrist fell away, revealing a large tattoo. Officers noted Jordan Adams, was wearing a blue Adidas sweatshirt with white stripes on the sleeves. Officers noted the third male, JACOB KRAUS, had a thin build with a goatee and he was wearing a brown "Phat Farm" sweatshirt. Camille Adams had the gun pointed at the victim during most of the robbery.

On October 9, 2007, at about 6:45 a.m., three men robbed the Town Pump convenience store in Columbus at gunpoint. Based on victim reports and a review of a video of the robbery, officers believed that the men who had robbed the Thriftway in Butte earlier that morning also performed this robbery.

Witnesses reported that three men entered the store. Two went to the counter and the third lagged behind and went to the beer cooler area. During the investigation, officers secured the scene, collected evidence and interviewed witnesses. During the robbery of the Town Pump, the person initially identified as suspect #1, discharged his firearm twice into the floor and into the ceiling of the business. The business reported that the robbers took approximately $518 in cash, beer and cigarettes. Columbus Police Officers recovered two "Federal" 9mm shell casings and the video surveillance of the robbery.

Two persons inside witnessed the robbery, including the cashier, who was the primary victim. She said two men approached her at the counter, and one of the men was wearing a red sweatshirt and a red hat. Camille Adams, was later identified as the man in the red sweatshirt. She said the man raised a gun and put it in her face. He announced, "This is a robbery! Open the register!" She said she paused briefly in disbelief and fear. In that moment, she said the man fired a shot over her head, into the ceiling. She said the man was apparently still not satisfied with the way she was reacting because he went to the end of the counter and fired another shot, this one into the floor. She opened the register and stepped back.

She said he then came around the counter and took money from the till. The second suspect then reached across the counter and into the till. The second suspect was later identified as Jordan Adams The third suspect, later identified as JACOB KRAUS, remained near the beer coolers. After they took the money from the till, they fled. A witness described seeing them get into a Dodge truck and drive away east on the Interstate.

Officers who reviewed the video surveillance were able to get good descriptions of the three men. Later that morning, at about 8:00 a.m., the Helena Police Department received a report that a 2005 silver Dodge Dakota truck with a personalized plate was stolen.

On October 10, 2007, at about 4:00 a.m., three men entered the Holiday convenience store in Sheridan, Wyoming, and robbed it at gunpoint. During this robbery, the person initially described as suspect #1, again discharged his firearm when the clerk did not move fast enough. This person was later identified as Camille Adams

The victim provided Sheridan Police a description of the robbers that is consistent with the three persons who robbed both the Thriftway in Butte and the Town Pump in Columbus the previous day. A review of the surveillance tape confirmed that the three men appear to be the same persons who robbed the stores in Montana. The business reported a loss of approximately $100 in cash.

Also on October 10, 2007, the Billings Police Department received information that the JACOB KRAUS and Jordan Adams were at the Billings Hotel and Convention Center in Billings. Officers went to this location and confirmed that they had stayed at the hotel on the previous evening of October 9, 2007. Clerks said that JACOB KRAUS and Jordan Adams, as well as three other males, had stayed in a room. They provided officers with a receipt, which indicated that a person identified as "CJ Peltier," who listed a Billings address had paid cash to stay in the room. The clerks also provided phone call information from the room during the stay.

Later on October 10th, at about 9:00 p.m., Stillwater County dispatch received a call on a recorded 911 line. The female placing the call indicated that she was calling from Kansas. This female indicated that the persons whom she believed were doing the robberies were on their way to Kansas and were currently in South Dakota. The female caller said that she wanted to talk to someone right away "before they hurt someone" and that there were five persons involved. Additionally, the female caller indicated that she knew a person who was related to one of the five persons.

At about 9:30 p.m., an officer with the Columbus Police Department contacted the female caller. The female told the officer that these persons were presently in South Dakota and had contacted someone she knows around 8:30 p.m. that evening. The caller said "they" told that person that they were on their way to Kansas and were going to try to make it into Nebraska that evening. The caller then put a male on the phone. He told the officer that he knew that five persons are riding together and that one of the persons is "CJ." He said "CJ" goes by the last name of either Adams or Peltier and that they are cousins. He said the person he referred to as "CJ Adams" had contacted him and told him that they were headed to Kansas. He said he thought that CJ Adams and the others must be somewhere around Rapid City or Mount Rushmore as CJ Adams mentioned both places in his conversation. He said CJ Adams told him he was in a Dodge Dakota truck.

The caller then said that CJ Adams had called him the previous day from Billings, Montana from a hotel at approximately 9:26 p.m. The caller provided his number, which matched up to the phone records from the Billings motel. He said that CJ Adams may also be using the name "CJ Peltier" The name "CJ Peltier" was in fact the name on the bottom of the hotel receipt.

Later on the 10th, at about 10:19 p.m., the Fall River County Sheriff's Office in South Dakota received a 911 call indicating the State Line Casino, in Oelrichs, South Dakota, had just been robbed at gunpoint. The caller provided the dispatcher with a description of three male subjects, which were again consistent with the descriptions of the persons who robbed stores in Montana and Wyoming. Dispatch then received a 911 call from a person who reported that he was following the vehicle that had just robbed the State Line Casino. This caller was a patron from the bar, who followed the robbers after they left.

He reported the vehicle was traveling south on Highway 385 in Nebraska, toward the town of Chadron. The caller identified the vehicle as a silver Dodge Dakota truck bearing a personalized Montana license plate, which matched up to the truck stolen in Helena. The caller told dispatchers that the truck was traveling at a high rate of speed and he was not able to keep up with it.

At about 11:30 p.m., officers from the Chadron Police Department located the suspect truck parked in an alley with the doors open. This vehicle was later towed to police impound and secured pending the execution of a search warrant. Officers established a perimeter around the vehicle and began a block-to-block search for the occupants of the vehicle. This evolved into a manhunt in the town of Chadron.

The following morning, Chadron PD and officials with Chadron State College and Chadron School District decided to shut down both schools for the day. During an ensuing door-to-door search of the campus, officers located articles of clothing on the east side of the Student Center. These articles of clothing matched the description of the items worn in the armed robbery of the State Line Casino.

At about 10:00 a.m. on the 11th, the Chadron Police Department received a report of suspicious subjects. At about 10:15 a.m., a deputy observed five males running from behind a local business. Officers responded to the area and took five persons into custody. A witness observed Camille Adams, throw a firearm into bushes behind a house. This firearm was retrieved and placed into evidence. The five males were identified as the JACOB KRAUS, Jordan Adams, his brother Camille Adams, another brother J.A., (a minor), and another male, S.J.

During the search of the vehicle, clothing and other items of evidence were seized. The evidence, including photographs, tied the group to the commission of the robberies in Montana, Wyoming and South Dakota.

The recovered firearm is a Norinco, 210C, 9mm semi-auto handgun, with no visible serial number. The firearm and shell casings were sent to the ATF lab for forensic comparison. The shell casings recovered from the Town Pump in Columbus were examined and they were fired from the recovered firearm. Additionally, the lab was able to recover a serial number, 4003489. Agents later determined the firearm was stolen.

At all times pertinent to this case, the Thriftway store in Butte, Montana and the Town Pump store in Columbus, Montana, were businesses engaged in interstate commerce. The firearm was manufactured outside the State of Montana and traveled in or affected interstate commerce.

Camille Adams and Jordan Adams pled guilty to federal charges and are awaiting sentencing.

KRAUS faces possible penalties of 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and 3 years supervised release for the robbery. In addition, KRAUS faces the possibility of an additional mandatory five year imprisonment, consecutive to any other sentence, for the use of a firearm during the commission of a crime of violence.

Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Ed Zink prosecuted the case for the United States.

The investigation was conducted by a cooperative effort between the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Helena Police Department, Butte Police Department, Columbus Police Department, Stillwater Sheriff's Department, Billings Police Department, and law enforcement agencies in Wyoming, South Dakota, and Nebraska.

A copy of the Offer of Proof can be obtained by contacting Sally Frank at (406) 247-4638.

 

 

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