EVERETT — They seemed legitimate enough with their gold-colored badges and the paperwork they said was a search warrant.
The men claimed to be law enforcement officers when they showed up at the Tobacco Hut store in the 1900 block of Broadway on May 29, Everett police say.
They put the owner in handcuffs and ordered a couple of closing-time customers to sit on the floor.
The owner became suspicious when the men began ransacking the place, gathering up cartons of cigarettes and cash. He demanded that Everett police be called to the scene.
Instead, the owner was struck on the head and his face doused with pepper spray, according to police reports.
The robbers took the owner’s wallet, loaded up the man’s car with loot, and drove it away. It was found the next day.
Everett detectives now have a suspect in the case: an ex-con from Bothell.
The man, 27, had the store owner’s wallet, identification and two cartons of cigarettes when he was stopped by Mill Creek police June 8, according to police.
The store owner and two customers who witnessed the robbery later picked him out as one of the fake cops from the May holdup.
The man was jailed last week for investigation of robbery and criminal impersonation of a police officer. No charges have been filed.
Court papers show the man has been in trouble with the law since he was 15. Most of his criminal history has involved property crimes.
The man’s most recent conviction came after a 2011 police chase in a stolen car that included allegations that he’d tried to crash it into a girlfriend.
The investigation continues, Everett police officer Aaron Snell said Monday. Detectives are searching for another man believed involved in the holdup.
Scott North: 425-339-3431, firstname.lastname@example.org