If police are right, a teen didn’t think things out when he allegedly tried to rob a Queen Anne convenience store and then concocted a story about a late-night burglary at his family’s home.
Seattle police quickly suspected that a botched armed robbery and a purported residential burglary were connected, especially since the alleged crimes occurred less than 24 hours apart in an affluent Queen Anne neighborhood with little violent crime.
Last week, King County prosecutors charged 17-year-old Henry Hicks as an adult with attempted first-degree robbery and first-degree assault after he allegedly fired a handgun at a convenience-store clerk during an attempted robbery. Police also suspect he staged a burglary at his family’s Queen Anne home to disguise the fact that a handgun was missing from his parents’ gun cabinet.
According to the charges:
Just after 1:30 a.m. on Jan. 2, a masked male walked into the 7-Eleven store at 1607 Queen Anne Ave. N., pulled a gun and demanded that the clerk fill a backpack with money. The clerk didn’t believe the gun was real and threw a plastic milk crate at the would-be robber, hitting him in the right hip. As the clerk reached for another crate, the male fired a single shot, narrowly missing the clerk’s head.
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The gunman grabbed his backpack and fled without getting any cash.
Police responded and a K-9 team briefly hit on a mountain bike that had been left in the alley behind the 7-Eleven but then lost the track several blocks north of the store.
At 12:15 a.m. on Jan. 3, Hicks’ mother called 911 to report a burglary at the family’s home, less than a mile from the 7-Eleven. Hicks’ mother told an officer that her son said he’d found the gun cabinet in the basement open and that a revolver was missing.
But the officer found no signs of forced entry and noted “that several guns were left in the cabinet and that nothing else was reported missing from the home,” say the charges. Hicks told the officer he had gone on a walk and returned home to find the gun safe open, which suggest Hicks had really gone to look for the gun he’d tossed as he fled the 7-Eleven, according to charging papers.
The responding officer returned to the West Precinct and told two other officers — who had responded to the 7-Eleven the day before — about the burglary call he’d just been on.
“The officers knew that this particular neighborhood has very little violent crime and homes in the area routinely average $1-2 million,” a detective wrote in charging documents.
The detective also noted that Hicks was the same age, has the same stature and eyebrows as the would-be robber and that the missing handgun was similar to the one used in the attempted holdup.
When police returned to Hicks’ home, the teen asked an officer about the shooting at the 7-Eleven, claiming he’d heard about it on the news, according to the charges. However, police say there had been no media reports about the attempted robbery.
Surveillance footage from the 7-Eleven showed Hicks returned to the store about an hour after the shooting; he questioned a different clerk about the attempted robbery and apparently retrieved his mountain bike from the alley, the charges say. Police served a search warrant at his house and seized the bike, along with clothing, shoes and a backpack that matched what was seen in the surveillance footage, say the charges.
A resident later found a revolver in the front yard of a house less than a half mile from the 7-Eleven, and turned it over to police, charging papers say. The gun — a black .22 caliber Smith & Wesson revolver that had been fired — was registered to Hicks’ father, the papers say.