Suspects in string of King County robberies arrested, charged after incriminating social media posts

BURIEN, Wash. — Suspects in string of robberies across King County arrested, charged after incriminating social media posts

Violent robbery after robbery — stretching from Seattle to the Eastside to South King County. Now two men have been charged with nearly a dozen crimes.

The two suspects are 22-year-old Ricardo Valencia-Alvarez and 21-year-old Cesar Sandoval.

Court documents say at least part of what led to their arrest are posts about a crime that the suspects shared on social media, with one video showing the bullet holes in a stolen vehicle after a store employee opened fire. The robbery events are detailed over 96 pages of documents, with images from surveillance videos that span many crime scenes.

One incident happened at a Shell gas station in Burien on Dec. 4. Documents say an employee shot at the suspects, damaging the getaway vehicle. That damage ended up playing a big role in helping catch the suspects.

“I was filling the store order for the week, (a) car pulls up, guys come in with a gun, point the gun at me,” said Billy, who was working at the time.

Video shows the suspects marching him to the registers and forcing him to take out cash.

As the suspects try to leave, he takes action.

“They got money, they walked out, I fired at their vehicle,” he said.

Video shows the employee firing more than ten shots.

“They drove away very fast with the door open,” Billy said.

Court documents say earlier that night, the same suspects robbed a 7-Eleven in West Seattle. Surveillance video from that store shows a suspect wearing the same red face mask.

In fact, Sandoval and Alvarez are also charged with robbing businesses and people in Renton, Bellevue, Redmond, Kent, Mercer Island and Seattle.

“It’s pretty heartbreaking this is even happening,” said John Shimabukuro, a King County resident. “I live in Redmond, so you kind of feel like you’re safer there. But yeah, it’s been happening everywhere,” he said.

But after the Burien incident, court documents say Alavarez “boasts on social media about committing robberies,” sharing a Facebook video of the getaway car, captioning it “Fat shoot out.”

In another photo, you can count eight bullet holes on the car.

“They pretty much admitted it to themselves online,” Billy said. “I laughed.”

With a search warrant at Sandoval’s residence in Seattle, police recovered this two-toned handgun that investigators believe was used in robberies in Renton, Bellevue and Seattle. They also recovered distinct pants that matched ones worn in Bellevue and Redmond.

Investigators say Alvarez also sent multiple Facebook messages about the robberies, at times asking others to join in.

Documents show he wrote, “you down to come with me and my cousin … we finna run up in gas stations and stick em up.”

Prosecutors asked for Sandoval to be held on $1 million bail and Alvarez to be held on $750,000 bail.

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