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Tip leads Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office to suspect in gas station robbery murder

Samuel Birch was arrested on Dec. 11. He's being held without bond in the Arapahoe County Detention Center.

ARAPAHOE COUNTY, Colo. — Arapahoe County sheriff's investigators looking for a murder suspect got a big break after the suspect's girlfriend's mother called in a tip.

According to an arrest affidavit for Samuel Birch, his girlfriend's mother called the sheriff's office just after 12:30 p.m. on Dec. 11. 

The girlfriend's mother told detectives the alleged shooter of a Circle K gas station clerk on Nov. 26, Thanksgiving, at around 6:44 p.m. was Birch, the affidavit states.

While on the same phone call, Birch's girlfriend got on the phone and told investigators she had seen pictures of the suspect in the robbery and shooting that had been put out to the media by the Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office (ACSO), according to the affidavit.

9NEWS is choosing not to identify the girlfriend's mother or Birch's girlfriend.

The girlfriend told deputies that she recognized the gray hoodie the suspect was wearing, the affidavit says. The hoodie had green lettering with
"No pain, no Jane" written on it, the affidavit says.

> The video above is from Friday, Nov. 27

The girlfriend also told investigators that Birch wore glasses and drove a Ford Fiesta, according to the affidavit.

Investigators said they had been looking for a Ford Fiesta in relation to an earlier robbery on Thanksgiving Day at a different gas station, the affidavit states.

The first gas station that was robbed was a Conoco located at 10210 E. Arapahoe Rd. The robbery occurred just after 4:30 p.m. on Nov. 26, the affidavit says.

In that robbery, the suspect pulled a gun on the clerk, the affidavit says. 

The clerk pulled out the cash drawer and placed it on the counter, the affidavit says. The suspect pulled the money out and then fired one round into the ceiling, the affidavit says.

RELATED: Video shows men suspected in multiple robberies storm bank with guns drawn

The girlfriend went to the sheriff's office for a formal interview later in the day on Dec. 11, according to the affidavit.

At the sheriff's office, the girlfriend told detectives that Birch had left her apartment on Thanksgiving Day around 3 p.m. and had returned at around 10 p.m., the affidavit says.

The girlfriend told deputies that Birch showed her cash and admitted to her that he had committed a robbery, and that he admitted to her that he had fired a gun at the clerk, the affidavit says.

The girlfriend added that Birch told her he buried the gun and burned his shoes and shirt that he wore in the robbery, according to the affidavit.

While at the sheriff's office, investigators played an audio clip of the suspect's voice from a robbery that occurred at a Circle K gas station on South Quebec Street near East County Line Road, the affidavit states. The clerk in that robbery, 24-year-old Mauricio Perez, was shot in the stomach and later died at the hospital, the affidavit says.

When the girlfriend heard the audio clip, she began to cry and told detectives that it was Birch's voice, the affidavit says.

At around 3:45 p.m. on Dec. 11, Arapahoe County Sheriff's deputies and members of the SWAT team went to the apartment where Birch's girlfriend lived to serve a search warrant, according to the affidavit.

When deputies arrived at the apartment they said they saw Birch on the balcony smoking a cigarette, the affidavit states.

Deputies gave Birch commands to surrender, the affidavit says.

Birch was taken to the sheriff's office, where he declined to talk to detectives until after he talked with an attorney, the affidavit says.

Birch was charged with:

  • first-degree murder
  • first-degree murder after deliberation
  • two counts of robbery/aggravated menacing victim with a deadly weapon
  • tampering with physical evidence-destroy
  • possession of a weapon by a previous offender
  • carrying a concealed weapon
  • theft($300-$750)

Birch is being held without bond in the Arapahoe County Detention Center.

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