Collier deputies make arrest in ‘Scream’ mask robbery

Author: Jennifer Jones
Published: Updated:

COLLIER COUNTY, Fla.- A handwritten script that began with, “This is a robbery,” was among the items found during a search Wednesday that led to the arrest of a 26-year-old man in connection with two recent armed robberies in East Naples.

Collier County Sheriff’s Office detectives say Jonathan Wessel, who is homeless, wore a “Scream” mask in one of the robberies.

Wessel is charged with two felony counts of armed robbery with a firearm and five counts of aggravated assault with intent to commit a felony.

Officials say on Monday Wessel entered the GameStop store located on the 9900 block of Business Circle. According to authorities, Wessel walked up to the counter and pointed a firearm at the three employees, demanding cash. He removed an undisclosed amount of cash from a safe and secured the employees with zip ties before making his getaway.

Deputies also connected Wessel to a Nov. 4 robbery at the Circle K store located at 12800 US 41 East.

Detectives say Wessel entered the Circle K store wearing a mask made popular by the Halloween movie “Scream.” He allegedly pointed a firearm at the clerk and demanded cash. Authorities say he then secured the clerk and a customer in the bathroom and left the store.

More charges are possible as detectives investigate whether Wessel is linked to several other recent robberies in Collier County.

“Between the dates of Nov. 1 and Nov. 11, there have been multiple robberies with a firearm committed within Collier County involving a tall, thin, polite, white male subject that matched the physical description, the dialogue used during the robberies, and demeanor of Jonathan Paul Wessel,” said Detective James Lockerby.

According to arrest reports, Wessel was identified as a possible suspect in the robberies after detectives watched video surveillance footage from an Oct. 27 retail theft at a Wal-Mart in North Naples.

On Tuesday, deputies conducted a traffic stop on Wessel’s vehicle, and he and his female passenger were transported to the sheriff’s North Naples substation for interviews. Wessel declined to speak to detectives and requested an attorney.

In her interview, the woman told detectives Wessel had been staying with her at her residence in Naples Park for the past three weeks, and that he recently came into a large amount of money, reports said. She also gave detectives permission to search her residence.

During the search, detectives found a handwritten note that began, “This is a robbery,” reports said. The note read like a script and contained a “check list” and “reminders” which were used in the Circle K robbery, reports said. Detectives also played the audio from the Circle K robbery for the woman and she identified the voice as belonging to Wessel.

The search also turned up a bank bag, which had been removed from a safe at The GameStop, along with heavy duty zip ties that matched the ties that the robber used to secure the employees and a written robbery note that resembled the dialogue he used.

On Wednesday, detectives executed a search warrant on Wessel’s 1995 Buick. A dark color pair of pants with white vertical stripes and a blue hooded sweatshirt were recovered from the vehicle. Detectives said the items are identical to the clothing worn by the suspect in Circle K robbery.

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