A hired hand reportedly robbed his employer Friday afternoon, striking the victim on the back of the head and taking his wallet before fleeing the scene near downtown McMinnville.
The alleged robber, Adam Wirgau, 28, tried to elude capture when lawmen cornered him near Pepper Branch Park hours after the crime. He was taken into custody following a struggle with officers and now stands charged with aggravated robbery, theft, evading arrest and resisting arrest.
Police say Wirgau was employed by John Douglass to help clean up the property around his historic home which burned last month. The house, which was unoccupied at the time, is located on West Main Street beside Hardee’s. The fire is suspected to be the result of arson.
Douglass told officers when they arrived that Wirgau struck him on the back of the head when he turned his back to unlock a door at the burned-out structure.
“He thinks he may have been hit with a brick,” said McMinnville police detective Nicole Mosley, noting Douglas was examined by paramedics at the scene but refused a trip to the hospital despite a bump on his head and a cut on his arm. “He said he felt the suspect reach into his pocket and take his wallet.”
The suspect also took his keys but did not take his vehicle. Instead, the robber fled on foot and a manhunt ensued. Wirgau was picked out of a photo lineup by the victim. Police say he had only worked for Douglass for a short while.