Charges against a 16-year-old boy from Yelm were forwarded to the Thurston County Prosecutor’s Office by Yelm officers on Sunday, Sept. 20, after he allegedly robbed the Apex Grocery and Deli for electronic cigarettes while wielding a knife.
Yelm officers were dispatched at around 4:20 p.m. to a theft that reportedly occurred at the Apex convenience store, located by the skatepark near the intersection of First Street and Yelm Avenue, according to police reports. The caller told officers that the suspect had shoplifted cigarettes and was running toward the Tahoma Valley Golf Course.
Upon arrival, officers were shown video evidence of the young man, who was wearing shorts, a multi-colored jacket and red tennis shoes, running toward the Yelm-Tenino Trail outside. The owner of the store told officers he wanted to press charges.
As they were checking the area, one officer noticed a subject matching the description run from the trail to the woods near the trail intersection on Brighton Street.
The other officer was able to make contact with the suspect walking toward State Route 507 on Brighton Street and immediately cuffed him. He told the officer he was on his way back to the store to return the items, and noted that he had just moved to the area about two weeks ago, according to police reports.
Police searched the suspect and found 10 packaged e-cigarettes valued at about $150 on him. The officers then transported him back to his address, where his caregiver told police that she was fostering the minor for 90 days until he was placed in a different home.
Yelm officers returned to the store the next day when the owner provided a victim statement. In the statement, according to police reports, the store owner said that he was pushed by the suspect and that he was threatened with a knife. Officers asked him if he saw a knife, to which he said he did not. The store owner also advised that the suspect had stolen 20 units of cigarettes, though only 10 were recovered.
According to police reports, officers forwarded the case to Thurston County Prosecutor’s Office for either second-degree robbery for allegedly pushing and threatening the victim with a knife, or third-degree theft.