Two arrested following Port Townsend Safeway liquor theft

By Arwyn Rice
Peninsula Daily News

PORT TOWNSEND — Two teenage boys were taken into custody Saturday for investigation of armed robbery following last week's theft of a bottle of liquor from the local Safeway grocery store.

Patrick Fudally, spokesman for the Port Townsend Police Department, announced Sunday that the two Port Townsend boys, age 14 and 15, have not been named due to their ages, and were taken into custody after more than 20 hours of work on the case by Port Townsend Police Detective Devin McBride.

One teen was in custody at the Kitsap Youth Center on Sunday afternoon, and the other has been released to the custody of his parents, Fudally said.

McBride first contacted the 15-year-old suspect Saturday, and then Port Townsend police served a search warrant at the home of the 14-year-old later that day, Fudally said.

“This kind of case is quite difficult to solve without the community's help,” he said.

According to police, the pair entered the north doors of the store at 442 W. Sims Way at 11:30 p.m. Thursday.

One suspect, wearing a fencing-style mask, ran toward the produce department and checkout aisles, causing what police said was later determined to be a diversion.

Employees confronted him, and he ran back out the north door.

The other suspect, wearing a dark-black mask pulled tight to his face, ran toward the liquor aisle, took a bottle of liquor and ran back toward the north door, police said.

The manager used a shopping cart to block the front door.

The second suspect “brandished a knife in a threatening manner” and forced his way past the cart and out the door as the manager backed away, police said.

Police arrived as the teens ran north from the store.

They were tracked into Kah Tai Lagoon Park and through the woods north of the apartment complex at 1235 Landes St.

Members of the community reported seeing two people matching the descriptions of the suspects from the store crossing the road at 14th Street and at 19th Street.

Police, having no description other than the dark clothing and masks, had little to go on to begin the investigation.

“It's quite challenging,” Fudally said.

Similar cases are often solved thanks to community tips and information, he said.

Fudally said that small town, community connections are vital to helping police solve similar crimes where there is little to go on.

“I believe it had a lot to do with solving this case,” he said.

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Reporter Arwyn Rice can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5070, or at arwyn.rice@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: April 06. 2014 6:14PM
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