Bellevue police have connected the 17-year-old Kent resident, who is a suspect in the robbery of more than 70 guns from Bellevue-based West Coast Armory, to other robberies throughout the area.
And, detectives say, the teen is suspected of being associated with a Tukwila International Boulevard group or gang called the “Tuk Town Kings.”
Detective Ray Lofink with the Bellevue Police Department said the Tuk Town Kings modus operandi is to steal weapons and drugs to sell on the black market.
“Most of these guns are just sold for quick money,” Lofink said.
That’s exactly what police believe the teen was planning when he and two others stole 72 firearms and stuffed them into a getaway vehicle that had rammed into West Coast Armory, 13216 SE 32nd St., on Dec. 26, 2017. Police are still searching for the two other suspects in addition to a getaway driver.
On the night of the 17-year-old suspect’s arrest on Feb. 13, four others were arrested as well.
“On the day we arrested them, they were going out to burglarize a place called Boerner Fire Arms in Bermerton,” Lofink said. “We had followed them. They had gone to a couple of different Walmarts in Auburn and Lakewood, buying buckets, gloves and hammers.”
Police were hot on their trail as the day before the suspects had stolen two cars and crashed one. The second was staged behind a business behind a gun store.
After the arrests, police obtained search warrants for various cell phones. Through information found on the cell phones, police linked the 17-year-old suspect to two burglaries at marijuana store Have a Heart on Sept. 11, 2017 and Dec. 13, 2017 as well as a burglary at marijuana shop Euphorium in Covington in April 2017. Lofink said two of those suspects, including the Kent teen, were also responsible for burglarizing and robbing Skagit Shooting Sports in Burlington in early February. All five, however, had stolen a car that night.
Police have recovered five guns stolen from West Coast Armory, which have turned up in other crimes and situations. The first gun was found to be used in an armed robbery on a Metro bus in Renton; the second was found during a traffic stop in unincorporated King County in which the suspect was arrested for a DUI, possession of a stolen gun and a pound of methamphetamine; the third was found in Des Moines during a disturbance at a gas station – officers arrived and a person consented to a search of their car. The person who possessed the gun hadn’t known it was stolen and returned it and another gun, which was also stolen from West Coast Armory.
The last stolen gun police recovered was involved in a “shoot out” in Federal Way. Lofink said “some guy” got in a confrontation with another who ran inside an apartment and was “shooting outside the bedroom window.”
None of the guns were altered in any way, Lofink confirmed.
The 17-year-old Kent resident is currently being held in King County Juvenile Detention.