UPDATE: 4 people charged with armed robbery in Barron are also c - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

UPDATE: 4 people charged with armed robbery in Barron are also charged in a Chetek armed robbery

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Suspects arrested: Zach Schwanke (left) and Ricky Gjerseth Suspects arrested: Zach Schwanke (left) and Ricky Gjerseth
Suspects arrested: Jonah Blake (left) and Tyler Rognholt Suspects arrested: Jonah Blake (left) and Tyler Rognholt

UPDATE: The four men charged with eight counts following an alleged armed robbery in Barron, now face eight more charges after an incident in Chetek.

Police said following the Barron incident, Zach Schwanke, Ricky Gjerseth, Tyler Rognholt and Jonah Blake drove to a home in Chetek.

Schwanke and Gjerseth stayed in the car because they knew the residents, and had been to the home several times, adding they knew the family had money.

A resident reported three men entered wearing masks and said one pointed a gun at him. Another hit him in the ribs with a baseball bat.

The victim's grandfather told police the suspects took off with roughly 40 dollars, a PlayStation and a pair of tennis shoes.

During police interviews, all four suspects admitted to the crimes.

They'll be in court January 10, for both the Chetek and Barron armed robberies.

Meanwhile, there is an extra court date for Gjerseth and Schawnke who police said were responsible for an armed robbery in Rice Lake on Nov. 14, according to police.

A man said four men entered, held him at gunpoint and stole his cell phone and $1,000 in cash from his safe. Schawnke claimed the victim owed him money and he was simply there to get it.

Both men are charged with a court of armed robbery. The maximum penalty is 40 years in prison.

December 27, 2017
All four people accused of an armed home invasion in Barron have officially been charged.

In total, the four suspects face eight charges between them, including armed robbery and burglary.

According to the complaint, Ricky Gjerseth told police that the group was ripped off during a drug deal in the Twin Cities. Because of that, they decided to rob a Somalian because they did not think a Somalian would contact police. They sat out in the car for 30 to 60 minutes waiting for a Somalian to come by.

A Somalian never walked by, so police said they broke into a home on Dec. 19, and held a man at gunpoint. They did not take off with cash, but did steal the man's cell phone.

While running away, one of the suspects, Zach Scwanke, dropped his cell phone in the apartment complex parking lot.

All four were arrested last Wednesday. During interviews with police, they admitted to the armed robbery in Barron, as well as one in Chetek on the same day. Charges in that case are expected to be filed Thursday.

All four men will be back in court on Jan. 10, for preliminary hearings.

UPDATE THURSDAY 12/21 4:15 P.M.:

Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald said the other two suspects in the home invasion, Tyler Rognholt, 17, of Cameron and Jonah Blake, 20, of Cumberland, were taken into custody in Eau Claire.

They will be held in the Barron County jail pending formal charges. 


Two teenage boys are under arrest in connection with a pair of home invasion robberies this week in Barron County.  And authorities are looking for two more suspects, who were identified today.

Zach Schwanke, 17, of Barron, and Ricky Gjerseth, 17, of Black River Falls are jailed in Barron County on charges of robbery, according to a press release from Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald.

Authorities are searching for Tyler Rognholt, 17, of Cameron and Jonah Blake, 20, of Cumberland.  Both are considered suspects in this week's home invasions.  Anyone with information on their whereabouts is asked to call 911.

Fitzgerald says the joint investigation involves the Rice Lake, Barron and Chetek Police Departments, in addition to his own agency.


Barron County (WQOW) - The Barron County Sheriff's Department is investigating two home robberies Tuesday evening, where the suspects entered the homes with a gun and bats.

The first invasion happened at 370 E Birch Ave., in Barron shortly before 8 p.m. Police said four males wearing masks carrying a gun and bats entered an apartment and held a person at gunpoint while they took several items from the apartment.

About 45 minutes later, another call came in reporting a home invasion. This time, three males entered the home, held the person at gunpoint and stole items. In this invasion, a person was struck with a bat as he tried to tackle one of the suspects, according to police.

Police believe the two incidents to be connected, but police don't know who is responsible.

If anyone has information about this case you are asked to call the Barron County Dispatch Center at 715-537-3106 or you can send an anonymous tip-text BCTIPS with your tip information to 847411. Also, everyone should report anything suspicious in your neighborhood to 911.

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