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Trio charged in armed robbery spree at four Pierce County stores

Post by Stacia Glenn / The News Tribune on April 11, 2013 at 11:53 am with No Comments »
April 11, 2013 11:53 am

Three men were charged today with using a handgun and a BB gun to rob four businesses in Tacoma and Puyallup in less than hour.

Javohn Smith, 17; James Robinson, 19; and Darion Tilley, 20; will be arraigned this afternoon on three counts of first-degree robbery and one count of first-degree attempted robbery.

Prosecutors also charged Robinson with two additional counts of first-degree robbery and Tilley with one for prior robberies in Tacoma.

Detectives are investigating their connection to other Pierce County robberies as well.

The armed robbery spree started at 5:20 a.m. Monday when Smith and Robinson allegedly walked into a 7-11 convenience store at 9517 South Steele St.

Surveillance footage shows one of them pointing a gun at the clerk and a customer while the other grabs money from the cash register and other assorted items.

About 10 minutes later, officers were called to Walgreens at 15225 Pacific Ave. South by a shopper whispering into his cell phone that a man with a gun is holding up the business.

The clerk later told police that the armed man’s hand was shaking so badly he accidently hit her in the head while pointing the gun at her and demanding money.

Instead of handing over cash, the clerk hit the alarm button. The robbers fled when a call for security blasted over the intercom.

At 5:56 a.m., a barista from Bikini Bottoms Espresso in the 7900 block of 176th Street East called 911 to report an armed man had robbed her from the drive-thru window. She claimed she heard a gunshot just prior to the holdup and described distinctive cheek tattoos on the robber, according to charging papers.

The last robbery occurred happened at 6:20 a.m. at a 7-11 convenience store at 15202 Meridian Ave. East. Two men pointed a gun at the clerk before fleeing with money from the cash register.

Deputies stopped the trio nearby and found a BB gun, a .38 revolver and cash in the car, court records show.

Tilley, who was behind the wheel, allegedly admitted to driving Robinson and Smith during the robbery spree. He also admitted to driving his friends to an unrelated robbery at a Tacoma convenience store, according to charging papers.

Robinson allegedly told investigators he stole a laptop and cell phone from the Tacoma Mall March 15.

“Robinson admits having a serious drug problem and that is why he needs the money,” court records said.

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