Over the last year the Lake Stevens Police Department has been busy apprehending suspects in several cases regarding robberies throughout the city.
Detectives Dean Thomas and Jared Wachtveitl have watched several hours of surveillance video, spoken to dozens of witnesses and followed hundreds of leads and in doing so they have been able to close several local cases.
“We wanted to follow up with the community and give some closure to folks about what happened to some of the cases,” interim Police Chief Dan Lorentzen said.
Local retail establishments who were hit by thieves include Pet Pros, Rite-Aid, Tom Thumb Espresso, Mocha Station (inside the Chevron gas station parking lot), Quiznos, Chase Bank, Yumiko Teriyaki and a local home invasion.
Jason Michael Hughes was sentenced to six years in prison last month after he pleaded guilty to three counts of first-degree robbery.
Hughes and his girlfriend Molly Walden first robbed the Pet Pros in Lake Stevens Center (formerly known as Frontier Village) and then robbed Tom Thumb Espresso and Mocha Station, both at knifepoint. Hughes was carrying the knife while Walden drove the dark green Chevy truck.
“We had vehicle description on that and put it out on the radios after the attempted robbery at the Mocha Station. We brought in a K9 unit and were able to find our suspects,” Thomas said. “She was driving the car and he was hiding.”
The two were also identified by espresso stand employees as well as from surveillance video from an earlier robbery in Everett. In all they were suspected of at least six robberies throughout the county.
They both lived within a mile of the Lake Stevens robberies and Hughes told police that he was feeding a drug addiction.
“We had gotten the vehicle description the day before from Snohomish,” Lorentzen said.
Walden was sentenced to 36 months for her part in the robberies.
Detectives were able to catch the suspect in both the Rite Aid and the Chase Bank robberies after Detective Wachtveitl found a cigarette butt outside of Rite Aid sitting on a trashcan and matching that DNA to the DNA found on a sweatshirt recovered after the Chase Bank robbery, which contained a human hair.
“After the Chase Bank robbery we had no suspects,” Wachtveitl explained. “But as a result of the Rite Aid robbery and because of the DNA we gathered from Chase, we were able to make an arrest.”
Surveillance video also played a role in capturing this suspect. LSPD shared video images of Roy to the public and his family encouraged him to turn himself in.
Benjamin I.G. Roy was arrested and was sentenced to 46 months after a jury trial.
Friends and family did indicate that Roy was addicted to prescription drugs.
The Rite Aid robbery took place on November 29, 2011 and Chase Bank was robbed on May 31, 2012.
“Most of these robberies are because of substance abuse problems,” Lorentzen said.
The now closed Quiznos Restaurant was robbed twice by the same suspect, Nickolas Borchgrevink, who was identified through surveillance video outside of Spirit World.
“Someone called in when they saw his photo in the Journal,” Thomas said. “Patrol went to his sister’s house and she let them know that her brother was in the Journal.”
Those robberies took place in 2011 and again in February of this year.
Borchgrevink pleaded guilty and is currently serving a 13-month sentence.
Detectives also were able to arrest three suspects who broke into a trailer in search of money and drugs on East Davies Loop Road in February 2012.
Arlie Lechner and Jonathan McNamara were arrested for beating two victims inside of the trailer.
“They didn’t get anything. Patrol caught up with them sitting in the car. They had their faces painted black and duct tape and zip ties in their pockets,” Thomas said. “They brought in crowbars, they hit them with whatever they could hit them with. The suspects knew the victims.”
The getaway driver pleaded guilty and is serving 12 months while Lechner is serving four and a half years and McNamara was sentenced to 60 months.
LSPD also arrested the suspect in the Yumiko Teriyaki store robbery in February of this year (full story can be found at www.lakestevensjournal.com).
The suspect shot his gun inside of the store and was arrested in Seattle with the help of Seattle Police. That suspect is awaiting trial.
LSPD wants to let the public know what they are doing out in their community and wants them to know that they are continually working to keep Lake Stevens safe.
“This is part of keeping our community involved in helping us solve these crimes,” Lorentzen said. “If you look at some of these crimes, it was the community. They gave us tips and surveillance to help us solve these crimes. Community involvement makes our job easier to solve these things.”
Lake Stevens Police has hired a third detective as of August 1. Frankie Nelson is the new detective who will be serving with Thomas and Wachtveitl.