BOTHELL — The robber made a strong impression when she hit two convenience stores Oct. 27, dressed for business in a black suit jacket and matching slacks.
The manager at the first store recognized her as a regular customer. He later told police he figured she was dressed for work. Then she pressed a handgun to his forehead and took cash and cigarettes. About 20 minutes later, she pointed the weapon at the cashier at another store, cursed him in Hindi, and then calmly left with a bag containing money.
In each case, surveillance cameras not only documented the robberies, but also the woman’s getaway behind the wheel of a Mercedes convertible.
That was enough for Bothell police to track down a suspect.
While the video cameras didn’t get a good image of the license plate, there was enough for a detective to identify the year, make, model and color of the robber’s ride, deputy prosecutor Andrew Alsdorf said in Snohomish County Superior Court papers.
The detective used the information to search a vehicle database. It showed there was only one car in Bothell that matched the description, and its registered owner lived near the robbery locations, Alsdorf wrote.
The woman’s driver’s license photo showed she was a close match for the robber. Both clerks picked her out when shown a photo montage.
Sunita Reena Kelleppan, 45, was arrested as she left her apartment. She did not resist. She told detectives that she’d made a mistake, was sorry, and didn’t mean to hurt anyone, Alsdorf wrote.
The woman cooperated with detectives, directing them to the closet where the clothing worn during the robbery could be found, along with some of the money and a BB gun that looked like a Sig Sauer P226 semiautomatic handgun.
“She claimed to have no knowledge as to why she committed the robberies and simply stated that she was not thinking,” Alsdorf wrote.
He charged her last week with first-degree robbery.
Depending on how the case progresses, Kelleppan is looking at anywhere from 2 1/2 to more than five years in prison.
Scott North: 425-339-3431; north@herald net.com. Twitter: @snorthnews.