Arlington teen admits to armed robbery

EVERETT — A 16-year-old Arlington boy who robbed a sandwich shop at gunpoint in July will spend at least two years in juvenile detention.

The teen admitted Thursday that he committed first-degree robbery when he held up an Everett Jimmy John’s shop. He and another suspect, both wearing surgical masks to hide their identities, grabbed nearly $600 from the cash register before running from the store.

Prosecutors alleged that the boy, then 15, was armed with a .38-caliber revolver. One of the employees told police that the teen cocked the gun and cursed at her when she told him that what he was doing was stupid.

Snohomish County Superior Court Judge Ellen Fair was told Thursday that the boy was drunk and high when he robbed the shop.

The boy’s hands were shaking, his attorney Laura Martin said.

“It was very evident he was terrified to be holding a gun and he was not in his right mind,” she said.

Police believe the boy later lent the gun to a 12-year-old who is accused of robbing a bikini espresso stand and a convenience store.

The Herald is not naming the boys because they are juveniles.

The older boy’s attorney told the judge Thursday that the teen comes from a good home. Records show that he was born in the Ukraine and came to the U.S. when he was four. He and his family became U.S. citizens in 2008. The boy is home-schooled and earned good grades. He regularly attended church with his family.

He “states that he loves his parents very much and that they are very good parents to him and his siblings,” court papers said.

Martin reasoned that drug use likely was a major factor in the boy’s actions. He began experimenting with marijuana and alcohol. A few weeks before the robbery, he tried cocaine for the first time, she said.

Since his arrest in September he has been asking to plead guilty and take responsibility for his actions, she said.

“I regret being disobedient to my parents,” the boy said Thursday. “They are very disappointed.”

His mother and older sister attended the hearing. His sister told the judge that since he has been locked up, her brother’s thinking has become clearer. He has plans to finish school and would like to be a firefighter.

The teen’s actions didn’t just affect his family, Fair said. She told the boy that what he did likely had a significant impact on the two victims. She sentenced him to up to 2 ½ years in juvenile detention. He could shave six months off his time behind bars if he doesn’t get into any trouble.

The boy has a prior conviction for residential burglary. He was 12 when he and two other boys broke into a vacant rental house in Arlington and caused about $12,000 in damage.

Everett police caught up with the teen in September while investigating two other armed robberies: one at Pecks Drive Market in south Everett and another at Hillbilly Hotties espresso stand on Hoyt Avenue. The heists happened a few days apart.

A 12-year-old boy was arrested after police recognized him from a surveillance video that captured the espresso stand robbery. He reportedly pedaled up on a bicycle, ordered a drink and then pulled out a handgun. He threatened to shoot the barista in the leg if she didn’t give him some money. He dumped the woman’s tips in his backpack and pedaled off.

He also is accused of pointing a handgun at store clerk and demanding money from the man a week earlier.

After his arrest Everett police questioned him about the sandwich shop robbery. He said his friend was responsible. He told police the older boy sent him a text, saying he’d just robbed the sandwich shop.

The boys knew each other from church.

Police have not said whether they’ve arrested the second suspect in the Jimmy John’s heist.

The younger boy, who is charged with two counts of first-degree robbery, is scheduled to go to trial this month.

Fair on Thursday advised the older boy to address his drug and alcohol issues. She also told him to make the best use of his time in juvenile detention.

“Hopefully you will be living a very, very different life once you get out,” she said. “You have a lot of making up to do.”

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

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