Not guilty pleas to espresso stand heists

EVERETT — A Lake Stevens man is facing a slew of robbery charges for heists at espresso stands around Snohomish County.

Jason Michael Hughes reportedly told police he robbed espresso stands to feed his drug addiction. Hughes said he couldn’t remember what businesses he hit because he was high when he committed the robberies, court papers said.

Hughes, 31, pleaded not guilty Monday to three counts of first-degree robbery. Prosecutors allege that Hughes was armed with a knife when he robbed at least three coffee stands. He is a suspect in at least two other heists and attempting to hold up a sixth stand.

Molly Walden, 23, of Lake Stevens, also is charged in connection with the robberies. Prosecutors allege that Walden chauffeured Hughes to and from the espresso stands.

She also pleaded not guilty Monday.

Both defendants were being held in the Snohomish County Jail on $75,000 bail. Their trials are scheduled for January.

Neither one has any prior felony convictions.

Police caught up with Hughes and Walden on Halloween. The pair reportedly tried to rob a Lake Stevens espresso stand. The barista told investigators that a short, pudgy man with dirty blonde hair ordered her to empty the cash register. She thought the man was joking until she saw a knife poking out of the suspect’s sleeve. The barista told the man she was calling police.

He walked off.

Less than 30 minutes later, a nearby espresso stand was robbed at knife point by a man. The barista handed over $300 and the robber grabbed her cell phone.

A Snohomish County sheriff’s deputy noticed that the suspect matched the description of a man who had robbed a Snohomish stand in September. Video surveillance from a neighboring business showed that robber getting into a green Chevy pickup. The suspect vehicle had a few distinguishing features, such as a bug guard and chrome running boards.

The deputy spotted a similar truck about a block away from the Lake Stevens espresso stand. The deputy stopped the truck. He spotted a man, later identified as Hughes, hiding under a black jacket in the back seat. The deputy also saw a bunch of cash on the floor of the truck. Walden was in the driver’s seat, court papers said.

Police later searched the Chevy and found a six-inch knife and the barista’s stolen cell phone.

Walden reportedly told police that she’d driven Hughes to rob at least six espresso stands, including the one in Snohomish and a couple in Everett in October.

Hughes allegedly told police he needed money to buy drugs.

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

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