A tracking device — presumably planted by an employee of a Bellevue cannabis store among the cash that was stolen during an armed robbery Wednesday — gave police real-time location data, allowing officers to pursue the robbers’ vehicle into Seattle, according to probable-cause statements outlining the Bellevue Police Department’s case against two men.
The statements, released Thursday by King County prosecutors, don’t mention that one of the three men involved in the armed robbery at Green Theory in Bellevue’s Factoria neighborhood was fatally shot after exchanging gunfire with police in Seattle’s Hillman City neighborhood.
A King County District Court judge Thursday found probable cause to hold two Renton men, ages 19 and 20, on investigation of first-degree robbery, according to prosecutors. The judge also found probable cause to hold the 20-year-old on investigation of first-degree unlawful possession of a firearm and set his bail at $500,000. The 19-year-old, the alleged getaway driver, is also being held on investigation of eluding a pursuing police vehicle. His bail was set at $100,000.
The Seattle Times is not naming the men because they have not yet been criminally charged.
As of Thursday, the King County Medical Examiner’s Office had not released the identity of the 19-year-old man who was fatally shot by police.
Bellevue police also released video-surveillance footage Thursday from Green Theory, located in the 12800 block of Southeast 40th Place, that shows how the takeover robbery unfolded.
The video shows two masked men enter and hold employees at gunpoint. One of the men wore a black puffy jacket, while the second wore a red puffy jacket.
The man in the black jacket hurdles a counter and forces an employee upstairs, where he takes cash from what appears to be a safe. The second man forces an employee behind the counter to empty cash registers.
Based on the video and information detailed in the probable-cause statements, it appears the man wearing the red jacket was the person later shot by police in Seattle.
That shooting is being investigated by the Seattle Police Department’s Force Investigation unit. In addition to Bellevue and Seattle police, the Washington State Patrol, the King County Sheriff’s Office and Kent police were involved in the pursuit. It wasn’t immediately clear how many officers and from which agencies exchanged gunfire with the man who was shot.
The Seattle Police Department is expected to release video of the shooting by Saturday.
Employees called 911 at 11:31 a.m. to report the armed robbery, Meeghan Black, a Bellevue police spokesperson, said Wednesday. She said a third man waited outside in a gray Nissan Maxima.
A Bellevue police detective was notified of the robbery five minutes later, according to the probable-cause statements.
“While listening to the Bellevue police radio, I heard dispatch inform patrol officers they were tracing a device the suspects took with them during the robbery at Green Theory,” the detective wrote. “I heard dispatch constantly inform officers of the travel direction and location of the tracking device.”
The detective heard officers report they had located the vehicle and attempted to stop it but the driver fled at high speed, the statement says.
Officers briefly lost sight of the car, but a minute later they spotted the driver walking in the 3600 block of South Findlay Street, noting he was the only person in the area who matched the description of one of the three men involved in the robbery and pursuit, according to the statement.
The car, which was unoccupied, was soon found at South Orcas Street and 37th Avenue South, less than 1,000 feet from where the driver was detained, it says.
During the investigation, the statement says Bellevue police learned one of the armed men forced an employee to open a safe and took off with cash, while the second man took cash from the store’s registers. As the store was being robbed, one of the employees called a co-worker in an adjacent building, and the co-worker was able to record video of the Nissan fleeing the scene.
Back in Seattle, officers traced the tracking device to the 3600 block of South Findlay Street, where one man was arrested and where police located the device and a large amount of cash around a second suspect, the statement says.