Bail set at $50,000 for man accused of extortion at Centralia convenience store 


Bail is set at $50,000 for the Chehalis man accused of showing a Centralia convenience store employee a gun and demanding money on Saturday. 

The man, identified as Jeremy Alan Sturdevant, 42, was arrested and booked into the Lewis County Jail at 3:50 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 10, after the incident was reported at approximately 9:15 a.m. that morning. 

Sturdevant is accused of entering a gas station convenience store in the 1000 block of Ellsbury Road, telling a clerk he “had fallen on the floor about a month before and was requesting a copy of the video and money,” according to court documents filed in Lewis County Superior Court. The clerk reportedly told Sturdevant he didn’t have access to the video and could not give him money. During the argument, Sturdevant allegedly “exposed a firearm in his waistband” and “kept looking towards his gun time and time again trying to draw attention to it and show he had a gun,” according to court documents. 

The clerk later told responding police officers “he believed this was a threat and felt afraid for his life.” 

Court documents indicate the two customers who were inside the store at the time of the incident corroborated the clerk’s narrative. One of the customers “described the male as angry and his body language was threatening.” The other customer stated “the male was asking for money in a way that ‘wasn’t particularly polite’” and described it as a “heated conversation.” Both customers stated Sturdevant lifted his shirt to expose the firearm, with one customer saying Sturdevant “was making sure everyone saw it,” according to court documents. 

Officers with the Centralia Police Department reportedly identified Sturdevant as the suspect via video of the incident and “other information,” according to court documents. 

Centralia officers determined Sturdevant’s address was at apartments in the 2200 block of Southwest Salsbury Avenue and requested aid from the Chehalis Police Department to check the apartments, according to a Centralia Police Department news release. 

Centralia and Chehalis officers, with a Centralia K9, surrounded Sturdevant’s apartment on Feb, 19 and waited for Centralia detectives to arrive. 

Centralia detectives contacted Sturdevant outside the apartment and interviewed him about the incident at the gas station, 

When questioned, Sturdevant “appeared to act ignorant as to any conflict at the gas station,” saying “he had gone to the gas station earlier to inform the attended he wanted compensation for his injury” and telling the detective “the worker was belligerent and non-cooperative with him,” according to court documents. 

When “asked about having a firearm,” Sturdevant reportedly “said that the worker might have seen the ‘bulge’ under his clothing.” 

The execution of a search warrant at Sturdevant’s apartment yielded several firearms, including a Beretta pistol, a Glock pistol, and an AR pistol/short-barrelled rifle with no discernable identifying marks or serial number. 

Sturdevant allegedly “admitted the firearm with no serial number was ‘built’ and belonged to him,” according to court documents. 

Officers also found a variety of suspected controlled substances, including 239.5 grams of “loose, dry marijuana buds” and “small, clean empty baggies that are commonly used to package narcotics for delivery and sale,” according to court documents. 

Sturdevant was booked into the Lewis County Jail on $100,000 bail over the weekend. He was charged Monday, Feb. 12, with one count each of first-degree extortion, unlawful possession of a short-barreled firearm and possession of a controlled substance. 

While the state prosecution asked for bail to remain at $100,000 on Monday due to the alleged involvement of a firearm, Judge James Lawler granted defense attorney Rachael Tiller’s request to lower the bail amount to $50,000. 

In her argument during Sturdevant’s preliminary hearing on Monday, Tiller noted Sturdevant’s criminal history is “quite old” and he has significant community ties. 

“Mr. Sturdevant has resided here for years. He was born here. He works here,” Tiller said Monday, noting that he had “strong family and friend support in the courtroom” during Monday’s hearing. 

Sturdevant has assured he “can and will abide” by all release conditions, including having no contact with any witnesses and not possessing any firearms until the case is resolved, according to Tiller. 

“I think that’s an appropriate bail,” Lawler said of the $50,000 bail request. 

Arraignment is scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 15.