Armed robberies have been plaguing South King County over the past two weeks. There were three more incidents on Thursday night in Covington, Kent, and Renton.
The King County Sheriff’s Office arrested one teen suspected of being involved in dozens of robberies, but others are still at large. The latest robbery was at a 76 gas station in Covington, which later led to shots being fired.
KIRO 7 cameras were at the King County Clark Children & Family Justice Center on Friday afternoon, where the 15-year-old teen was supposed to make a court appearance. He didn’t show up because of medical reasons, but his case was reviewed by a judge.
“I find the respondent is an extreme risk to the community, and also failure to appear,” said Judge Nelson K.H. Lee with King County Superior Court Children & Family Justice Center.
The judge found probable cause for the teen to be charged with three counts of first-degree robbery and unlawful possession of a firearm in the second degree. But investigators believe he’s involved in dozens of other violent crimes.
“This individual is also suspected in over 30 other armed robberies committed over the past 10 days,” Lee said, referencing the police superform.
“He’s not attending school, not in any special activities, he’s not currently residing with his mom, and his whereabouts are usually unknown,” said Michelle Higa, a juvenile probation counselor. Higa also recommended the teen to be held in secure detention.
As for others involved in the robbery spree, investigators believe they may also be teens.
In Covington Thursday night, the King County Sheriff’s Office says the suspects got away from the 76 gas station robbery in a car and ended up in a crash with another car.
“And one of the young men that was in the vehicle with the suspects fired some shots at this other vehicle,” said Sgt. Corbett Ford. No one was hurt, and the suspects ran away from the scene.
Ford says the KCSO brought out a major response to contain the area, including deputies from other precincts, Guardian One, and the K-9 team. After a more than two-hour search, detectives found three juveniles in a stolen car and arrested them.
However, there was not enough evidence to link the three teens in the stolen car to the Covington robbery, other robbery incidents, or to prove that any one of the teens had stolen the car. Ford said the detention center declined to accept the teens because of the lack of probable cause, and all three were released from custody.
Ford says the different law enforcement agencies are working hard to share evidence and identify the robbery suspects.
“They need to be off the street. When you look at the number of robberies and the continued situations they’ve put these victims in, it’s absolutely horrible,” Ford said.
In court on Friday, prosecutors said the teen is expected to be charged by Tuesday afternoon, and is expected to be in court on Wednesday, Nov. 23.
Renton police said they’ve had eight recent robberies that are possibly connected. Kent police said they have dealt with five in the last 10 days and are investigating the connection. Tukwila police said it has had two recent robberies. Other robberies have been in Burien, Skyway, Covington, and Seattle.
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