9 suspects wanted for two separate Yakima Co. pot shop robberies
YAKIMA COUNTY, Wash. — A huge reward is being offered to help police in Yakima and Union Gap identify a total of nine suspects after two separate takeover style robberies at pot shops within two weeks.
The first robbery happened at about 8:30 p.m. Jan. 27 at Station 420 on Main Street in Union Gap. Four suspects barged in wearing masks and latex gloves and held two employees and a customer at gunpoint.
“They were in and out of here in 42 seconds,” said Station 420 owner Adam Markus.
The chaos and damage they did during the robbery closed the store for a day. One suspect jumped the counter and order the clerks to get on the floor.
Video shows the suspect in a plaid shirt putting glass jars of marijuana into a bag. A second suspect joins him and starts grabbing jars by the handful, knocking many of them on top of the employee who is covering his head to protect himself.
“What they didn’t steal out of the case, most of it ended up broken on the floor,” Markus said.
One of the suspects also robbed the customer before the group raced back outside and headed west from the direction they came. Union Gap Police Det. Curtis Santucci says this is the first pot shop robbery they’ve ever had, and he wants it to be the last. He’s following up on several clues, including a hat that says ‘Klipon’ that the suspect in plaid was wearing. The company makes horticultural fasteners and ties for gardens and orchards.
The suspect dropped the hat when he ran from the store. Police think the suspects in that robbery may be part of the group who robbed the Slow Burn marijuana shop on North 40th Avenue in Yakima on Feb. 9.
“We do believe that there are some similarities that we’re looking into,” said Yakima Police Major Crimes Det. Drew Shaw.
Shaw says this kind of takeover style robbery is rare. In the Yakima case, there were five suspects, and two of them had handguns.
“They immediately overcame patrons and a couple of employees that were inside,” Det. Shaw said.
Video shows one of the suspects was wearing a 49ers jacket, and another suspect is wearing a long coat on and appears to be wearing many layers. After loading up several bags with marijuana and cash from the register, they leave.
“They fled the same way that they came in, and as they were fleeing, one of these suspects did, for an unknown reason, just discharged the firearm inside the business which obviously scared all of those that were involved,” Shaw said.
As the suspects ran from the pot shop, they started firing into the glass at a nearby Subway. Fortunately, the restaurant was closed at the time.
“It just makes your heart sick to see your staff have to go through that kind of BS just to earn a living,” said Slow Burn co-owner Ken Weaver.
The owner of each shop is offering a $10,000 reward to anyone who can help identify and catch the criminals responsible. Detectives are hoping it motivates someone to come forward.
“I would love nothing more than to bring these people and put them in jail,” Markus said.
If you want that $10,000 cash reward, contact Union Gap Police Det. Curtis Santucci at 509-249-9237 or Curtis.Santucci@uniongapwa.gov. You can also contact Yakima Police Det. Drew Shaw at 509-576-6791 or Drew.Shaw@Yakimawa.gov.
If you can identify a suspect who took part in both robberies and they get arrested, the store owners said they will each pay. You can also submit a tip on these robberies or any other felony crimes to Yakima County Crime Stoppers at 800-248-9980.