Suspect's spork helps crack robbery case
DNA on the utensil matched that found on a shirt that police believe was worn during the robbery.
Arlington police on Thursday evening knocked on a door in Lynnwood and arrested the man they believed pulled the January 2011 holdup of Dominos Pizza in Smokey Point.
"It was great police work," Arlington city spokeswoman Kristin Banfield said.
The suspect was identified in court papers as Timothy Sherlock, 24.
Banfield said he should not be confused with his namesake.
"He was no Sherlock Holmes," she said.
Instead of tracking clues, he was leaving them, according to court papers.
Evidence was gathered over many months.
It started the day of the robbery, Jan. 27, 2011. Detectives learned a woman was working alone at the pizza business when a skinny man with light-colored eyes appeared. He was wearing a dark sweatshirt with the hood up and a ski mask or stocking cap over his face.
He held what looked like a switchblade knife in his right hand and demanded money.
A bank employee working nearby said she saw a man in a mask run from the restaurant while clutching a white bag. He wore a dark-colored hoodie with a white logo on the front.
Another witness saw him running east toward some woods.
His image also was caught on a motel surveillance camera.
In the woods, police found a black hoodie with a white logo on it as well as a "beanie" style stocking cap and a black T-shirt. The clothing was dry, even though the plants around the items were wet.
The Dominos employee identified the sweatshirt as matching one the robber wore.
A week later, police received an anonymous voice mail message identifying the suspect as the Lynnwood man.
Police learned that the suspect knew a former worker at the restaurant.
Detectives sent the sweatshirt to the Washington State Patrol crime lab hoping DNA would bolster the case.
There was no match found in the statewide and national criminal DNA databases.
Arlington police later learned that the man had been taken into custody at the Marysville city jail for a misdemeanor.
That's where the spork came in.
Detectives enlisted the aid of jail staff and, without the suspect knowing, collected a plastic spoon-fork hybrid he'd used.
The spork was sent to the State Patrol crime lab. Tests showed the DNA on the utensil matched samples taken from the sweatshirt.
The man was booked Thursday into the Snohomish County Jail for investigation of first-degree robbery.
Eric Stevick: 425-339-3446, firstname.lastname@example.org.
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