Police: 23-year-old man arrested after three robberies and police chase

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Michael Washburn, 23 (Courtesy Newport News Police)
Michael Washburn, 23 (Courtesy Newport News Police)

A 23-year-old man wanted in connection to three different robberies in York County and Newport News was arrested last week after leading deputies on a chase across county lines.

Michael Rueben Washburn, of the 100 block of Dandy View Lane in Yorktown, is charged with robbery, grand larceny of a motor vehicle valued over $200, grand larceny, petit larceny and two counts of probation violation in Newport News, according to court records.

He is also charged with robbery, use or display of a firearm in the commission of a felony, reckless driving and eluding police, according to York-Poquoson Sheriff’s Office spokesman Lt. Dennis Ivey.

Police believe Washburn approached a 63-year-old man sitting in a car in a McDonald’s parking lot, located at 2635 George Washington Memorial Highway, 4;30 p.m. Feb. 15, Ivey said.

Washburn asked the man for money, and the man agreed to give him some change. The 23-year-old then asked him to use his cell phone, which the man also agreed to, Ivey said.

Washburn gave the phone back, but then asked the man for more money, police said.

When the man refused to give him any more money from his wallet, Washburn lifted up his shirt, displaying a handgun tucked into his waistband, and threatened the man, Ivey said.

Washburn took his cell phone again and ran off, getting into a truck and driving away, Ivey said.

Just after the alleged robbery, a York County deputy saw Washburn, driving a truck, run a red light. Deputies were unaware of the robbery at the time, he said.

The deputy tried to stop him for the traffic violation, but Washburn allegedly ran from police. The deputy elected not to pursue him because a traffic violation was the only offense police knew of at the time, Ivey said.

Once deputies were informed of the McDonald’s robbery, they initiated a pursuit that crossed into the city limits of Newport News.

Newport News deputies were not involved in the chase with York County deputies, but Virginia State Police assisted during the chase, Newport News Police spokesman Master Police Officer Brandon Maynard said.

York deputies and state troopers lost sight of Washburn around the Patrick Henry Mall, located in the 12300 block of Jefferson Avenue, Maynard said.

Newport News Police arrested Washburn later that evening in the 11800 block of Jefferson Avenue, he said.

Newport News Police had taken out warrants for Washburn Feb. 14 relating to two robberies in the city, Maynard said.

The first alleged robbery happened at 7:28 p.m. Feb. 12 at a 7-Eleven in the 700 block of J. Clyde Morris Boulevard. Washburn is accused of taking a box of rolled pennies from underneath the register at the convenience store and fleeing the business on foot, according to a Newport News Police news release.

The same night, at 8:14 p.m., Washburn allegedly stole cash from a Rite Aid safe in the 600 block of J. Clyde Morris Boulevard, the release said.

Police believe Washburn entered the Rite Aid and asked an employee to exchange several rolls of coins for paper money. When the employee opened the safe, he took an undisclosed amount of cash from the employee’s hand and left the store in an unknown direction, the news release said.

Washburn has a criminal history in York County and Newport News dating back to 2012, with charges including trespassing, failure to appear, assault & battery, receiving stolen goods, obtaining money by false pretenses, possession of schedule I or II drugs and possession of synthetic cannabis.

Fearing can be reached at sarah.f@localvoicemedia.com.