Suspects in two recent armed robberies in Washington will potentially face the same punishments if found guilty even though one robber used a real gun and the others used what amounts to a BB gun.
Late last month in Olympia, three teens ranging in age from 16 to 19 placed a pizza order but when the woman tried to deliver the pizza at an apartment complex, no one answered the door. The three young men then jumped out of the bushes, one of them brandishing a gun, and demanded she drop the pizza. They grabbed the pizza and ran off.
A police K-9 officer arrived to investigate and the dog followed the scent of pizza to one of the suspects who was hiding in the bushes. Upon questioning, the young man pointed out a van where the two other suspected robbers were hiding. An Airsoft gun was found discarded in the bushes where one of the suspects told police he threw it. An Airsoft gun is a low-power gun pressurized with air that shoots plastic spheres akin to BBs.
The three suspects were arrested and booked into jail. Bail was set at $100,000 for the two adults and $90,000 for the 16-year-old.
During an armed robbery in Seattle earlier this month, the 29-year-old suspect pistol-whipped the victim and stole his cell phone. The suspect fled the scene in a car and led police on a chase before colliding with a parked car. The man fired at officers before surrendering. No one was injured and the man was booked into jail. The man is a suspect in at least five other robberies, including two bank robberies, according to police.
Even though the teens in the December robbery were essentially using a toy gun, the pizza delivery woman thought it was a real gun, which means the teens are facing the same charges of robbery in the first degree that can be leveled against the man who used a real gun to rob his victim.
A person commits robbery when the thief takes personal property that someone is carrying on them and they use force, or the threat of force, or violence or fear of injury to get the property. The degree of force is immaterial under Washington law. Robbery differs from burglary in that to commit burglary, the thief must enter a structure with the intent to commit a crime, but they still can be convicted without actually stealing anything.
A person is guilty of robbery in the first degree if, in the commission of the crime or while fleeing the scene, he or she is armed with a deadly weapon, or displays what appears to be a firearm or other deadly weapon, or inflicts bodily injury, or commits robbery within or against a financial institution such as a bank or credit union. Robbery in the first degree is a Class A felony, punishable by up to live in prison, or a $50,000 fine, or both.
Had the robbers not brought a weapon, they could have been facing the lesser charge of robbery in the second degree, which is a Class B felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison, or a fine of up to $20,000, or both.
Do not let a lapse in judgement ruin your life. No matter the crime, every defendant has a right to representation by a qualified attorney. If you have been arrested and face criminal charges, call the Seattle law office of Steve Karimi at (206) 621-8777 or contact him online.