Police search for suspects in string of robberies

VIDEO: String of armed robberies spreads from Lacey to Tukwila

Police are searching for a suspect in a string of armed robberies that began in Lacey and spread up the I-5 corridor in the early hours of Dec. 18, 2015.
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Police are searching for a suspect in a string of armed robberies that began in Lacey and spread up the I-5 corridor in the early hours of Dec. 18, 2015.

Law enforcement agencies are on the lookout Friday for two men suspected of conducting a string of armed robberies along the Interstate 5 corridor late Thursday night and into Friday morning.

Lacey Police Sgt. Terence Brimmer said the string of crimes started at the Lacey Target on Sleater Kinney Road. From there, the suspects hit five gasoline stations between Lacey and Tukwila.

“They are very armed and extremely dangerous,” Brimmer said.

At least one of the suspects, a black man wearing a Brooklyn Nets knit hat, was armed. He carried a pistol-grip pump-action shotgun, Lacey Det. Jonathan Mason said.

“The fear is that shotgun is going to be loaded,” Mason said. “He hasn’t fired it yet, but that’s something that could happen.”

The other suspect is harder to identify, Brimmer said, because he was wearing a ski mask. Police believe he is a slim white man. Both men are shown on video surveillance footage from the gasoline stations.

Lacey police responded to the Lacey Target at about 10 p.m. Thursday after the white male suspect allegedly shoplifted several bottles of liquor from the store, Brimmer said. Some customers tried to intervene, and were confronted by the black male suspect.

The two suspects fled the scene.

They struck again at a Chevron gasoline station at 1601 Marvin Road NE in Lacey.

Brimmer said the black male suspect entered the Chevron’s store with the shotgun and demanded money. The clerk had a hard time opening the register, and the suspect banged the barrel of the gun on the glass counter until it shattered.

The suspects left with an undisclosed amount of money.

The next target was a Mobile station at 9410 Martin Way E. in Thurston County, Brimmer said. Both suspects entered the store about 15 minutes after robbing the Chevron, and the clerk asked the white male suspect to take off his mask. The other suspect then took out the shotgun and asked the clerk to hand over money from the store’s safe.

As the clerk walked to the safe, the suspect hit him on the back of the head with the gun. The suspect then went behind the counter and took money from the cash register. The white male suspect climbed over the counter and took some cigars, Brimmer said. Brimmer said the clerk’s injuries weren’t life-threatening.

From there, the suspects headed up I-5 to DuPont and robbed another gasoline station just before 1 a.m. They then robbed gas stations in Fife, Kent and Tukwila, Brimmer said.

The amount of money taken during the robberies hasn’t been disclosed.

Mason said he believes that the same two suspects performed all of the robberies.

“The black male is wearing the same Brooklyn Nets beanie-style hat, the same black pea coat jacket,” Mason said. “The same description is almost identical in every single one.”

Brimmer said that with the security footage in hand, he’s hopeful that the two suspects will be arrested soon.

“We’ve got good video, so it’s just a matter of time before we identify these guys,” Brimmer said.

Amelia Dickson: 360-754-5445, @Amelia_Oly