Tuesday, January 6, 2009

3 members of armed-robbery ring arrested in West Seattle

Three members of a suspected armed-robbery ring that has targeted convenience stores over the last month have been arrested.

By Sara Jean Green

Seattle Times staff reporter
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Three members of a suspected armed-robbery ring that have been accused of targeting convenience stores over the last month have been arrested.

Since early December, a group of young men armed with handguns and a sawed-off shotgun have either robbed or attempted to rob at least eight convenience stores in West Seattle, White Center and Tukwila, said Seattle police spokesman Mark Jamieson.

At 1:37 a.m. Sunday, someone inside a West Seattle convenience store called 911. Officers arrived at the store, in the 4300 block of Southwest Admiral Way, within a minute, Jamieson said. They set up a perimeter and pulled over the suspects' car within five minutes of the 911 call, he said.

A 21-year-old man and two 18-year-old men were arrested and a handgun was recovered, Jamieson said. At least one suspect, possibly more, is still at large.

"We're happy we have three people in custody but by no means is this over," he said.

No one was hurt in any of the robberies.

In earlier robberies, at least four men in their late teens or early 20s have entered stores with bandannas or hoods covering their faces. One man is usually armed with a sawed-off shotgun or a short-barreled shotgun, he said.

"They're always very aggressive. Sometimes they're successful, sometimes they haven't got anything," he said.

During one robbery attempt in West Seattle, "a clerk chased them off with a stick," Jamieson said. In another attempted robbery at a Tukwila convenience store, "the clerk saw them coming and locked himself in a backroom," he said.

Though the robbers weren't able to open the cash register at that store, Jamieson said they "had hit three other places that night."

Seattle robbery detectives, the King County Sheriff's Office and Tukwila police are investigating.

Sara Jean Green: 206-515-5654 or sgreen@seattletimes.com

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