Burglary suspect preyed on elderly, police say

EVERETT — An Everett man accused of robbing a 91-year-old man at a gas station in August is now a suspect in a series of burglaries involving other elderly victims.

Patrick Hartness, 26, was charged in September with first-degree robbery. He’s accused of beating and mugging the man who had to be admitted to a rehabilitative care center.

After the arrest, detectives with the Everett Police Department’s Major Crimes Unit began investigating Hartness in connection with several burglaries involving elderly people around Snohomish County.

“He was targeted in his approach,” Everett police officer Aaron Snell said.

Detectives concluded that Hartness identified victims in their 90s to steal their checks and credit cards, Snell said. He and others then allegedly would cash the stolen checks and withdraw money using the cards.

“It is believed there are additional elderly victims who have not reported burglaries or may not realize they were victimized,” Snell said.

Potential victims can call the police department’s tip line at 425-257-8450.

Hartness remains in the Snohomish County Jail on $100,000 bail in connection with an Aug. 24 robbery outside a south Everett gas station.

The victim was holding several hundred dollars in his hand at the time, according to court papers.

Hartness allegedly grabbed the man’s wrist and punched him in the face. The older man was knocked to the ground. Hartness then reportedly snatched the money out of the man’s hand.

Witnesses reported seeing Hartness run from the gas station to a nearby fast food restaurant. He holed up in a restroom stall. That’s where he stripped out of his shirt and donned his girlfriend’s shirt in an attempt to disguise his appearance, police said.

Officers cornered Hartness in the stall. He was wearing a tight tank top. Police emptied his front pocket, turning up a pair of brass knuckles, drug paraphernalia and a wad of cash. They found his wallet in his back pocket.

A money clip belonging to the victim also was found in the bathroom stall.

At the time of his arrest, Hartness was wanted on warrants for a domestic violence assault and driving with a suspended license. He has previous convictions for auto theft and drug possession.

Eric Stevick: 425-339-3446, stevick@heraldnet.com

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