Holdups allegedly a family activity

MARYSVILLE — The man police believe is responsible for a rash of recent espresso stand robberies did it to support his family, he told police after his Wednesday arrest, according to court documents.

Shane Newman-Wittenbarger, 29, of Stanwood, admitted to robbing at least four drive-up espresso stands since Aug. 18, documents said.

He and his wife, Blair Knerr, 25, were arrested and are now in jail for investigation of multiple counts of second-degree robbery.

Now, baristas in the area can go back to making lattes and mochas.

“I’m glad everything’s back to normal and everybody’s going to be safe,” Leaha Peterson, 27, said Thursday. She’s a barista at Espresso Z to B and was robbed on Aug. 29.

Peterson’s description helped police develop a sketch that ultimately led to the couple’s Wednesday arrest, court documents said.

After the sketch was released, about a dozen tips allowed police to quickly solve the case, Marysville police Cmdr. Robb Lamoureux said.

“The number of tips we got absolutely led to a suspect and ultimately an arrest of that suspect,” he said. “The public’s help was invaluable.”

One tip came from Newman-Wittenbarger’s former boss, documents said. The boss said Newman-Wittenbarger was recently fired.

Newman-Wittenbarger told Peterson that he was committing the robbery to help his wife and children.

“He should have thought of a better way to support his family,” she said. “If they do have kids, I feel really bad for their kids.”

Employees at the drive-up espresso stands have been terrorized for the past two weeks as reports came in of at least a half-dozen robberies.

In each case, a man walked up to the stand, said he had a gun or knife, and demanded money, police said. The man took the money and ran off to a waiting car.

Newman-Wittenbarger told police Knerr allegedly drove him to the robberies, documents said. He told her to wait while he got the money.

He denied having a gun or threatening he had a gun, according to a police affidavit.

After her arrest, Knerr declined to talk to police and asked for a lawyer, documents said.

Police continue to develop the case and may forward information about additional robberies to Snohomish County prosecutors, Lamoureux said.

On Thursday, a judge ordered Newman-Wittenbarger held in lieu of $75,000 bail and Knerr held in lieu of $30,000 bail.

Even with the couple sitting in jail, baristas should not completely let down their guard, Lamoureux said.

With easy access, the espresso stands still are potential targets.

“They should not be afraid but alert,” he said. “They need to be aware of what’s around them and not just the next drink they’re making. That’s personal safety 101.”

Reporter Jackson Holtz: 425-339-3437 or jholtz@heraldnet.com.

Talk to us

More in Local News

Arlington
Arlington woman dies in crash on Highway 530

The Washington State Patrol says a Stanwood man ran a red light, striking Zoey Ensey as she turned onto the highway.

FILE - This 2003 electron microscope image made available by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows mature, oval-shaped monkeypox virions, left, and spherical immature virions, right, obtained from a sample of human skin associated with the 2003 prairie dog outbreak. A leading doctor who chairs a World Health Organization expert group described the unprecedented outbreak of the rare disease monkeypox in developed countries as "a random event" that might be explained by risky sexual behavior at two recent mass events in Europe. (Cynthia S. Goldsmith, Russell Regner/CDC via AP, File)
Monkeypox case count rises to 6 in Snohomish County

Meanwhile, cases in the state have roughly doubled every week. Most of those have been in neighboring King County.

Farmer Frog employees sort through a pallet of lettuce at their new location on Wednesday, Aug. 3, 2022 in Snohomish, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
At Farmer Frog’s new pad, nonprofit helps feed 1.5M Washingtonians

The emergency food distribution network began amid the pandemic. Demand was high — so high, the truck volume led them to move.

Logo for news use featuring Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Snohomish County, cities announce $9.6M for mental health, shelter

Projects span from Edmonds to Sultan. Each city is using American Rescue Plan Act money, with the county contributing, too.

Logo for news use featuring Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Suspect in custody after man’s gunshot death, standoff

Deputies responded to a domestic violence call and found the suspect barricaded on the property near Snohomish.

Two students walk along a path through campus Thursday, Aug. 4, 2022, at Everett Community College in Everett, Washington. The college’s youth-reengagement program has lost its funding, and around 150 students are now without the money they need to attend classes. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Monroe nixes college program, leaving 150-plus students in the lurch

For years, the Monroe School District footed the bill for “U3” students, who have gotten mixed messages about why that’s ending.

Desiree Gott looks over documents before her sentencing Thursday, Aug. 4, 2022, at Snohomish County Superior Court in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Driver gets over 2 years in death of motorcyclist in Everett

In May, Desiree Gott was turning into the BECU on Evergreen Way when she crashed into Matthew Japhet, 34. She had taken meth.

A frame from video taken by a nearby security camera shows a Bothell police officer (right) shooting a man who allegedly charged him with a knife. (Snohomish County Multiple Agency Response Team) 20210128
Prosecutor declines charges in fatal Bothell police shooting

An officer shot Juan Rene Hummel, 25, five times in 2020, when Hummel charged at the officer with a knife in his hand.

Logo for news use featuring Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Man dead in shooting near Startup antique store

The man in his 30s was shot before noon Saturday. A man in his early 20s was in custody.

Most Read