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Idaho Falls man arrested for armed robbery with gun

by Johnathan Hogan Post Register
| August 19, 2020 1:49 PM

An Idaho Falls man is in jail after he reportedly robbed a man at gunpoint and used the victim’s debit card for shopping.

The victim contacted the Idaho Falls Police Department on July 29 to report the robbery. According to the probable cause affidavit, the victim was cut off by a white car while driving and that the vehicle’s driver, a man later identified as 29-year-old Joshua Tews, exited the car and demanded his wallet at gunpoint.

The victim said Tews grabbed his phone and keys, and the two got into a fistfight. Tews then reportedly pistol-whipped the victim and took his wallet, while leaving his keys behind. The victim’s bank account showed the debit card had been used at multiple stores since the incident occurred.

The officer interviewed staff at each of the stores where the card had been used. The employees said either a man or a woman had used the debit card. One store employee said Tews had attempted to buy a stereo, but left after the card was rejected due to a hold placed by the victim’s bank.

Several stores provided security footage of Tews at the store counter, as well as footage of his car. The officer noted both Tews and his car fit descriptions given by the victim. One store said the man using the card had identified himself as Tews, and that his name did not match that on the card.

While the officer was leaving one of the stores, he saw Tews’ car entering the parking lot. The two men driving the car said they had borrowed it from a friend in jail.

The officer went to the jail inmate’s residence and found two women at the residence. One of the women had been seen using the victim’s debit card on security footage.

The woman admitted to making purchases with a debit card from Tews, but said she assumed it was Tews’ card. The woman has not yet been charged.

Text messages discovered later in the investigation on Tews’ phone show the woman contacted Tews after she was interviewed by police to warn him police were looking for him and that he should get a new car.

Police later passed the white car from the security footage a second time, this time with Tews driving. He was detained, and a pellet gun was found in his car.

Tews admitted to using the card, but said he did not rob the victim and did not know the card was stolen.

While searching his phone, police found text messages in which he appeared to acknowledge robbing the victim, telling the woman who also used the card he had gotten a debit card and some cash. “I mugged him an have a card felony,” one of the messages said.

The woman claimed in text messages to Tews that the victim would not call police, because he had been attempting to hire a prostitute at the time of the robbery. The victim had confirmed to police he had been attempting to meet a prostitute at the time of the robbery.

Tews continued to deny robbing the victim when confronted with the text messages, but said the woman was a prostitute and that she sometimes let him use cards she got from prostitution. He said the woman had known the stolen card’s PIN number.

Tews was charged with robbery, punishable with a minimum of five years in prison and up to a life sentence. His bond was set at $250,000. A no-contact order was issued between him and the victim.

A status conference is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. Friday in the Bonneville County Courthouse.