One gut feeling turns into another during attempted robbery

LAKE STEVENS — A recent attempted robbery in Lake Stevens didn’t go so well, at least for the robber. Instead of a wallet, he took a cane to the stomach.

The intended victim, a 66-year-old Lake Stevens man, apparently was targeted while walking home from an appointment at The Everett Clinic on Vernon Road. That was in early November. The case is still being talked about, though, in part because police found out about the incident from social media.

The man’s daughter wrote a Facebook post about what happened. Her post got more than 940 “likes” and was shared by nearly 1,000 people.

That wasn’t necessarily welcome news for the 66-year-old, though, who indicated to police he didn’t like all the fuss.

The trouble started about noon Nov. 2., according to a police report.

The man was leaving the doctor’s office when he felt uneasy and glanced behind him. He saw a man “walking up behind him carrying a large pole in his hand,” the report says.

According to police, the landscaping pole was about four feet long and two inches wide, similar to what’s used to keep saplings from tilting.

The Lake Stevens man kept walking until he heard steps “coming up quickly behind him,” according to the report.

He stopped and turned toward the other man, who was wielding the pole as a weapon.

The Lake Stevens man “then took his cane and stabbed it into the stomach of the male, causing him to drop to his knees,” officers wrote. “(He) then reportedly struck the male in the ankle with his cane to keep him from coming after him.”

The robber didn’t get back up, and the older man walked away as fast as he could, the report says.

The older man later returned to the scene and collected the pole for safe-keeping.

Then police heard about the Facebook post.

When a Lake Stevens police officer contacted the man a few days later, he told the officer he had been approached by strangers in public who recognized his picture, and the attention made him uncomfortable. He told the officer he had been struggling with feeling better about “what he had done to protect himself.”

According to the Facebook post by the man’s daughter, he has diabetes, heart problems and is missing an eye. After the attempted assault, she asked her social media friends to look out for anyone with a chest bruise and an ankle injury.

She also suggested someone ask the injured man how it felt to “get your (expletive) kicked by an AARP ninja.”

Even though the story went viral, the delay in reporting and the lack of information has made it difficult to identify any suspects. The police report describes the case as inactive with “no further leads.”

It’s still important for everyone to report crimes promptly, Police Chief Dan Lorentzen said Monday.

“This was a story that made its way to Facebook before it made its way to law enforcement,” he said. “We always ask that folks call 911 to report these things. Facebook is not an emergency number.”

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

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