Pierce County investigators are sorting through tips today in this week’s deadly home-invasion robbery in Edgewood.
James Sanders, 43, was killed, his wife tied up and his 14-year-old son pistol-whipped during the robbery Wednesday night. A 10-year-old boy, who also was home at the time, was not injured. The suspects – three men and a woman – contacted the family because he was selling a diamond ring on Craigslist.org, the popular classified advertising website.
Sheriff’s spokesman Ed Troyer said Friday that tips are coming in from the public through the Tacoma-Pierce County Crime Stoppers line and dispatchers. A team of investigators is sorting through the tips and prioritizing them for follow-up, Troyer said.
“We believe this case will be made by a tip,” he said.
Other investigators are working through the forensic evidence and using technology to try to identify the suspects. So far, no arrests have been made.
“There really isn’t anything that is not being done,” Troyer said.
Sanders’ 14-year-old son, who was hospitalized after the robbery, has since been released. The family is staying with relatives and is surrounded by friends and family members, family friend Sheila Riggs said Friday.
They don’t want to see this happen to anyone else.
“Jim Sanders would not want this to happen to anyone else,” Riggs said. “He would not want anyone else’s family to be destroyed.”
The four suspects responded to James Saunders’ Craigslist ad by phone. A woman contacted Sanders and told him she was interested in buying the diamond ring for her mother for Mother’s Day and wanted to see it, Riggs siad.
“All the communication was done with the woman,” she said.
Sanders gave her his address. The woman and a man showed up at Sanders’ Edgewood home in the 3600 block of 106th Avenue Court East on Wednesday night and showed their money.
The two – and two others – entered the home. They wore bandanas and wielding guns. They immediately tied up Sanders’ wife, Charlene. They threatened to kill her if she did not tell them where the hidden safe was. The robbers started counting down from five but did not shoot.
Troyer said Friday the family did not have a hidden safe. And the suspects had no previous knowledge that there would be one.
Investigators have said James Sanders was shot while trying to protect his 14-year-old son, who was being pistol-whipped.
Troyer said investigators conducted interviews with the Sanders’ family Thursday, then returned to their house to process it for more evidence based on what they said.
Troyer described what happened as brutal.
“Everybody is really traumatized,” he said.
“It’s a nightmare,” Riggs said.
Investigators have only released scant descriptions of the suspects – two of the men are described as in their 20s and either black or Hispanic. The woman is described as dark-skinned and in her late teens.
Lake Stevens investigators believe the same suspects are responsible for a similar home-invasion style robbery Sunday in their jurisdiction. Composite sketches of two of the suspects were released Thursday in that case.
One of the men was described as black, 18 to 24 years old, 5 feet 6 and 160 pounds. He had a thin build and goatee. The second man was described as a mixed-race man, also 18 to 24 years old, 5 feet 10 and 170 pounds. He had a thin build and tattoo on his neck.