Authorities Connect Tea Man To String Of Robberies Through Surveillance, Girlfriend

Authorities say a Tea resident is responsible for a string robberies over the course of a few weeks. They say the 41-year-old man robbed or attempted to rob at least five businesses in Beresford, Hartford and Sioux Falls.

Authorities say Jason Dunkelberger’s crime spree ended on Dec. 10 in Lincoln County. They say he walked into the Heart T Stop in Heartford with a gun, demanding cash from the clerk. Dunkelberger left the store when she refused to give him any money.

Minnehaha County Sheriff Capt. Paul Niedringhaus said, “The clerk was able to give us a really good description. We got the description out shortly after the robbery.”

Authorities say Dunkelberger led officers on a high speed chase before crashing his car.

Niedringhaus said, “That dove-tailed into looking at this individual to see if he was involved in any other robberies.”

The robberies began on Nov. 30. Authorities say armed with a gun, Dunkelberger demanded money from the clerk at the Pump N Pak north of Wild Water West. This time he got away with cash. He fled in the employee’s car before dumping it later.

Authorities say Dunkelberger also threatened a clerk with a gun at a Happy Jacks Casino on Dec. 8. The following morning, they say he got away with some more cash after robbing Jackson’s Casino on South Minnesota Avenue.

“Some of it was the surveillance video, and the clothing that he wore was similar in some of the burglaries,” said Niedringhaus.

According to court documents, Dunkelberger’s girlfriend also helped authorities. She told them that she had driven him to a few of the businesses and took some of the money to Grand Falls Casino, put it into casino games and cashed out the tickets.

“We’re pretty confident this is what he’s been involved in,” Niedringhaus said.

The same day authorities say Dunkelberger robbed the Happy Jack Casino on East Arrowhead Parkway, he also went into the Truck Towne Plaza in Beresford. According to court papers, he was wearing the same clothes and a ski mask. His girlfriend says he decided not to rob the store when the clerks noticed he was acting suspicious.

Dunkelberger is facing four counts of 1st degree robbery.