Discarded Starbucks cup helps Olympia police identify rape suspect

Staff writerMarch 6, 2014 

A discarded paper coffee cup from Starbucks was the crucial clue that helped Olympia police arrest a man Tuesday in connection with sexual assaults of two women who were picked up at Olympia bus stops.

Married father of four Bryon E. Johnston, 35, was being held Wednesday at the Thurston County Jail on suspicion of one count of first-degree rape, one count of attempted first-degree rape and two counts of first-degree kidnapping.

A judge on Wednesday and ordered him held in lieu of $250,000 bail. Johnston’s defense attorney, Paul Strophy, declined comment.

Johnston is suspected in the abduction and rape of a woman from an Olympia bus stop in downtown Olympia on Nov. 28. He also is accused in an attempted rape of a woman in February.

In both cases, the assailant drove the women to the abandoned Bailey’s Motor Inn on Martin Way in Olympia.

According to court papers:

On Feb. 19, a woman in her 20s reported that a man offered her a ride from a bus stop. He asked her “if she wanted to make some money,” and then groped her breasts. The man threatened to cut her and pulled her hair as she fought him off and jumped out of the moving car in the Bailey’s Motor Inn parking lot.

As she ran from his sport-utility vehicle, a paper coffee cup fell from the passenger door. The sticker on the cup showed it came from a Starbucks drive-thru in DuPont.

Starbucks later gave detectives surveillance footage from that drive-thru that showed a license plate number for the SUV.

Both women positively identified Johnston as their assailant.

Olympia police arrested Johnston on Tuesday at his DuPont home.

They are still investigating whether there are other victims. Anyone with information about other attacks is asked to call the Olympia Police Department at 360-753-8300.

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