South Sound News

Investigators looking for 3 men after Pierce County robbery spree involves car with child inside

PIERCE COUNTY, Wash. — The Pierce County community is reeling after four armed robberies in less than 24 hours and a carjacking, to boot.

The crime spree covered nearly four miles.

Three robberies happened within minutes of each other Saturday night in Pierce County. Then a fourth robbery, the next night, in Lakewood.

Police believe all four crimes were committed by the same three men.

This proved to be especially scary for a young mother because she became a victim herself. She was inside this Chevron, buying candy, she said, when someone jumped into her car and took off with her precious cargo inside.

“I just turn around to my left and I see through the window that somebody’s getting into my car,” J.C. said. “And I’m like, I’m fired up.”

That is the horrifying sight that greeted J.C. Saturday night.

She and her three-year-old daughter were unwittingly caught in an armed robbery at the Chevron Station on Portland Avenue East, all of it captured on surveillance video.

“He went like literally, I would say, like 50 miles an hour; I don’t know it was like super-fast,” she said. “And I’m like ‘okay, my daughter’s dead.’”

She was witnessing the second of three armed gas station robberies within 13 minutes in Pierce County. All three, said investigators, the work of a trio of armed men.

It appears an accomplice saw J.C.’s vehicle running, with her daughter sleeping inside, and decided to take off.

“And I’m literally turn around like this” said J.C. “And I went and did what every mom would have done or whomever is in this kind of desperation, with this kind of strength.”

But police said they weren’t done yet. Just after 8 p.m. Sunday night, the same trio is believed to have robbed this gas station on Steilacoom Boulevard in Lakewood.

The crooks dropped off J.C.’s vehicle not far from the gas station in Midland, her daughter still asleep.

But the experience has awakened something in her.

“A lesson for people, the lesson that is learned is that not to take anything for granted,” she said. “Obviously never leave your kid inside a car, even if it’s asleep.”

She had just come back from the hospital when we talked to her. She said she is very sore with a lot of bruises. Her daughter slept through the entire ordeal.

She said her Christian faith saved her and her daughter.

Now investigators say they need help identifying these robbers.

If you know anything about what happened here, you are asked to call 911.