A 15-year-old boy was charged Tuesday in connection with three armed robberies committed in under an hour last week at South King County gas stations, and sheriff's detectives suspect he was involved in more than 30 others during the first two weeks of November, prosecutors say.
The teen was arrested Thursday in Covington and remains in juvenile detention. His city of residence is not included in charging documents.
The Seattle Times does not name juvenile defendants unless they are charged as adults, but the 15-year-old -- who is charged with two counts of first-degree robbery, attempted first-degree robbery and unlawful possession of a firearm -- is not eligible for adult prosecution. That's because first-degree robbery was one of the crimes removed by state lawmakers in 2018 from a list of offenses that could land a juvenile in adult court.
Now classified as an A++ offense, juveniles convicted of first-degree robbery can be held in custody by the Juvenile Rehabilitation Administration up until their 25th birthdays, instead of their 21st birthdays, when juvenile jurisdiction ends for most other crimes.
The charges against the 15-year-old indicate he had two accomplices in the robberies and attempted robbery he's accused of committing Thursday in Renton, Kent and Covington, but don't say whether they've been identified by police. The handgun found in the 15-year-old's possession was stolen in a residential burglary that was reported to the King County Sheriff's Office on Nov. 10, charging papers say.
Just before 5:30 p.m. Thursday, two males -- one armed with a handgun, the other with brass knuckles -- held up a 76 gas station in Renton and made off with $25, say the charges. Based on video-surveillance footage, the same suspects tried to rob a Chevron station in Kent 40 minutes later but fled after the cashier made a grab for the gun, the charges say. Eight minutes after that, the suspects robbed a 76 gas station in Covington, stealing approximately $150 and tobacco products, according to charging papers.
After the Covington cashier called 911 to report the robbery, a sheriff's deputy conducting a search north of the gas station came across a two-car collision in the driveway of a nearby self-storage business, where a Hyundai Elantra and a Chrysler Pacifica had smashed into each other, say the charges.
The couple in the Pacifica told the deputy they had seen two males run from the gas station to the Elantra, where a third male was waiting behind the wheel, the charges say. The husband used the Pacifica to block the Elantra and the Elantra's driver fired a shot at the couple through the windshield, according to the charges.
The Pacifica's driver drove in a circle in the middle of 164th Avenue Southeast and rammed head-on into the Elantra, disabling it, say the charges. The Elantra's driver fired several more rounds at the Pacifica before all three occupants ran off, the charges say.
The Elantra's steering column had been destroyed and detectives later learned it had been stolen from a car-rental business, according to the charges.
The 15-year-old was arrested four blocks from the crash scene with a handgun in his pocket, according to the charges. The teen's height, build and skin tone is the same as the suspect seen in video footage armed with the type of gun that the charges say was used in a majority of the more than 30 robberies he is suspected of committing Nov. 2-17.