Purple sock helps police track down robbery suspect

EVERETT — He was undone by a high-school yearbook photo and one lousy purple sock.

A man who reportedly ran out of an Everett grocery store with $61 worth of mid-shelf tequila on Tuesday night was arrested just hours later thanks to a little police work.

The man, 23, and a woman allegedly took off with the liquor loot from the Safeway store at Rucker Avenue and 41st Street just after 10:30 p.m. Tuesday, according to the arrest report.

A store employee tried to stop the pair, and a struggle broke out. The man used his 367-pound frame to slam his shoulder into the employee and get away, the report says.

The suspect was described as shoeless, but wearing mismatched socks, including a purple sock.

Everett police were reviewing the surveillance video at the store when they got another clue.

Another employee said he recognized the shoplifter as a former classmate from Everett High School, the report says. The employee couldn’t remember the suspect’s name. Officers asked the employee to go home and get his yearbooks, and the employee found the man’s name and photo inside of one.

“We had great community help on this one,” Everett police spokesman Aaron Snell said Wednesday.

By 1 a.m., officers caught up with the man at his Everett home.

“One of the telling factors was the purple sock in this case,” Snell said. “He changed everything but his socks.”

The man declined to speak with officers and was booked into the Snohomish County Jail for investigation of second-degree robbery. A shoplifter who uses force to take items upgrades the crime to a robbery under state law.

Police still are seeking the woman believed to be involved. The man’s socks were impounded as evidence.

Officers wrote in the arrest report that the man “reeked of alcoholic beverage.”

Rikki King: 425-339-3449, rking@heraldnet.com.

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