Tips lead Everett cops to armed robbery suspect ‘Puffy Hands’

He’s accused of robbing a mini mart at gunpoint in February. He’d been convicted of the crime before.

Everett police released security footage in May as they searched for a man who robbed a mini-mart at gunpoint months earlier in the Delta neighborhood. (Everett Police Department)

Everett police released security footage in May as they searched for a man who robbed a mini-mart at gunpoint months earlier in the Delta neighborhood. (Everett Police Department)

EVERETT — The clerk at a Delta neighborhood market had given one of the regulars a nickname, “Puffy Hands,” because of his swollen palms and fingers.

A robber came into the store with a gun around 8:50 p.m. Feb. 10, in the 1100 block of East Marine View Drive. He wore a blue ski mask. But to the clerk his build and voice seemed a lot like “Puffy Hands,” according to police reports filed in court Wednesday.

One customer was in the store at the time. The gunman cycled between aiming a pistol at the customer’s head and the clerk, court papers say.

He said something like, “I just want the money!” and “Give me the money!”

The clerk gave him a handful of cash, about $130.

He was last seen running west on 12th Street.

The clerk recounted the man she called “Puffy Hands” was in the store earlier that same evening.

Security footage showed he walked through the door around 5:50 p.m. wearing layers: a green jacket, over a gray hoodie, over a purple hoodie, with two of the hoods pulled over his head. His blue jeans had white stitching on the back pockets. His shoes matched the shoes of the masked robber. On one hand, he wore an orange glove.

Security footage aired earlier this month on Washington’s Most Wanted.

Thirteen anonymous tips came in. Seven of those pointed police to one man, 30, who lived less than 1,000 feet away from the store, as the crow flies. One of the callers even knew his birth date.

On Tuesday evening, Everett police tracked down the suspect outside a hardware store in the 5300 block of Evergreen Way, where he was a passenger in the front seat of a Dodge Challenger.

Detectives arrested him without incident.

Everett District Court Judge Tam Bui found probable cause Wednesday to hold the suspect in jail for investigation of first-degree robbery and second-degree assault. Bui set bail at $100,000.

The man has been convicted of robbery before, as well as possession of heroin and cocaine.

Court records show in November 2011, a cashier at a Walgreens on Broadway reported a man came up behind her, pressed something into her back and told her to hand over all the cash in the register.

He fled with a fistful of $20 bills.

In that case, security footage showed the robber ran into an alley behind a nearby motel.

One guest told police someone had come knocking at her door, asking to be let in. She asked who he was, and he told her his first name, that he was being followed and that he’d slide $40 under the door if he could use the phone.

She told him to leave. Within a few minutes of the crime, police caught the man as he tried to hail a taxi. He pleaded guilty to second-degree robbery, and served a year in a state prison.

Since then it appears he hasn’t been convicted of a crime in Washington.

Snohomish County Superior Court sent him a letter last month, saying he was overdue on court fines from the old robbery case. He owed $1,233.70. In bold underlined type, the letter warned him that failing to pay immediately could result in jail time.

Caleb Hutton: 425-339-3454; chutton@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @snocaleb.

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