Trio faces multiple counts from Pierce County crime spree

Staff writerApril 12, 2013 

Three men were charged Thursday with using a handgun and a BB gun to rob four businesses in Tacoma and Puyallup in less than hour.

Javohn Smith, 17; James Robinson, 19; and Darion Tilley, 20; pleaded not guilty to three counts of first-degree robbery and one count of first-degree attempted robbery.

Pierce County prosecutors also charged Robinson with two counts of first-degree robbery and Tilley with one for prior robberies in Tacoma. They were ordered jailed on bail of $250,000 each.

Detectives are investigating any connection the men might have to other Pierce County robberies.

The robbery spree started at 5:20 a.m. Monday when Smith and Robinson allegedly walked into a 7-Eleven convenience store at 9517 S. Steele St. Surveillance footage shows one robber pointing a gun at the clerk and a customer while the other grabs money from the cash register and other assorted items.

About 10 minutes later, officers were called to Walgreens at 15225 Pacific Ave. S. by a shopper whispering into his cellphone that a man with a gun was holding up the business.

The clerk later told police the armed man’s hand was shaking so badly he accidently hit her in the head while pointing the gun at her and demanding money. Instead of handing over cash, the clerk hit the alarm button. The robbers fled when a call for security blasted over the intercom.

At 5:56 a.m., a barista from Bikini Bottoms Espresso in the 7900 block of 176th Street East called 911 to report an armed man had robbed her from the drive-thru window. She said she heard a gunshot just before the holdup and described distinctive cheek tattoos on the robber, according to charging papers.

The last robbery occurred about 6:20 a.m. at a 7-Eleven store at 15202 Meridian Ave. E. One of two robbers pointed a gun at the clerk before fleeing with money from the register.

Deputies stopped the trio nearby and found a BB gun, a .38-caliber revolver and cash in the car, court records show.

Tilley, who was behind the wheel, allegedly admitted to driving Robinson and Smith during the robbery spree. He also admitted to driving his friends to an unrelated robbery at a Tacoma convenience store, according to charging papers.

Robinson allegedly told investigators he stole a laptop and cellphone from the Tacoma Mall on March 15.

“Robinson admits having a serious drug problem and that is why he needs the money,” court records said.

Stacia Glenn: 253-597-8653

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