Gun-wielding bandit robs two fast-food restaurants

August 1, 2008

By Jim Feehan

A brazen armed robber who held up two restaurants in broad daylight last month, one while customers were present, remains at large.

The first robbery was at 1:30 p.m. July 3 at Papa Murphy’s, 6945 Coal Creek Parkway S.E.

The suspect entered the store, asked about the pizzas, grabbed a soft drink from the cooler and approached the counter. He then pulled out a black semiautomatic handgun and a yellow pillowcase and demanded that the store employee place cash in the pillowcase, police said.

He fled with $200 and headed south on foot. A video surveillance camera captured his image. A police dog and his handler were summoned, but the trail went cold in the parking lot behind the restaurant.

The suspect is described as a black male in his early 20s, about 6 feet tall. He was wearing a puffy black jacket, a beanie cap and baggy pants.

Moments before the robbery, a man matching the description of the suspect walked into Distinctive Tan, next to Papa Murphy’s, and asked if the tanning salon was hiring, a clerk told police.

Two days later, a man matching the same description held up the Baskin Robbins at gunpoint, according to Police Chief Melinda Irvine.

At about 4:45 p.m. July 5, the suspect entered Baskin Robbins, 6935 Coal Creek Parkway S.E. and ordered an ice cream cone. When the clerk opened the cash register to make change, the suspect lunged forward and reached into the cash register while holding a black semiautomatic handgun in his right hand. The clerk backed away and walked to the back room to get away from the robber. About $235 was taken.

The suspect told the customers he had a gun. At the time of the robbery, a 47-year-old Bellevue man was seated at a table having ice cream with his two pre-teenage sons. The suspect fled south on foot. A police dog and his handler were called, but were unable to locate the suspect.

The suspect in the Baskin Robbins robbery was described as a black male, 22 years old and about 6-foot-2. He was wearing a puffy black jacket, grey beanie and black horizontal stripped pants.
“We are investigating leads,” Irvine said.

The last armed robbery in Newcastle was December 2007 at Distinctive Tan.

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