2 years in Swiss jail for teen fugitive

  • Thu Apr 29th, 2010 10:39pm
  • News

By Diana Hefley Herald Writer

Swiss officials finally made good on their promise to prosecute a teen fugitive who fled to Switzerland in 2002 after a violent heist at a downtown Snohomish jewelry store.

Snohomish County Prosecuting Attorney Mark Roe recently received word that Adrian Elvis Gordon was sentenced to two years in a Swiss prison for his part in a robbery at Sachi Fine Jewelry and Design on First Street.

The conviction happened in 2008, but word didn’t work its way through diplomatic channels until now.

Gordon has been on the lam from American authorities since April 12, 2002.

“Getting part of what he’s got coming to him is better than nothing,” Roe said Thursday. “The rest is waiting for him if he comes back.”

Gordon and co-defendant Carlo Antonio Torrejon, both Seattle high school students at the time, burst into the store armed with pepper spray and a pistol. The teens maced shop owner Brad Jorgensen and employee Leesa Kraft and then pistol-whipped Jorgensen before making off with $28,000 in jewelry.

Gordon, then 18, fled to Switzerland before he could be captured. Under Swiss law, Gordon can’t be extradited for the heist because he has both U.S. and Swiss citizenship.

His escape rankled both Jorgensen and Roe. Gordon was the one who came up with the idea to rob the store, he brought the gun and he hit Jorgensen, Roe said. Torrejon owned up to what he did, pled guilty and was sentenced to 5 1/2 years in prison.

Gordon, “a rich kid flew away on gilded wings to a cozy resting place where they filmed ‘The Sound of Music,’” Roe said. “That’s not one of my favorite things.”

Roe doesn’t get to tell Jorgensen that justice finally caught up with Gordon. The longtime jeweler died in 2005. Roe said he called Jorgensen’s son with the news and was trying to reach Kraft to tell her.

Roe got word from an official at the U.S. Department of Justice who came across the case earlier this year. She was apologetic about Gordon’s sentence, Roe said.

Gordon, now in his mid-20s, remains charged in Snohomish County Superior Court with first-degree robbery with a deadly weapon. The getaway car, a Volvo, remains impounded in a county evidence lot.

If Gordon returns and is convicted, he faces more than eight years in prison under Washington law. Roe believes Gordon still could be prosecuted here for the robbery.

At one point, Swiss officials had warned the prosecutor that he could face charges of his own if he was too forceful in demanding that Gordon be held accountable for the robbery.

Later, in 2004, a Swiss police officer contacted Roe and said Gordon would soon face Swiss authorities. Roe sent them a large packet of information about the crime, including a video-taped confession from Torrejon.

Gordon is probably out of jail by now, Roe speculated Thursday.

“As long as I’m around, there’s more waiting for him if he returns,” Roe said.

Diana Hefley: 425-339-3463; hefley@heraldnet.com.