Police: Lovers robbery suspect hit Issaquah, Redmond stores

October 2, 2012

By Warren Kagarise

Issaquah police arrested a 42-year-old Issaquah man Sept. 25 for armed robberies at Lovers adult novelty stores in Issaquah and Redmond after a telltale cellphone ring led officers to the suspect.

Police arrested Juan G. Martinez-Casillas, a.k.a. Marco Antonio Suarez-Perez, at the Park Hill at Issaquah apartment complex, about 600 feet from Lovers.

Investigators said Martinez-Casillas robbed the local Lovers, 5614 E. Lake Sammamish Parkway S.E., at gunpoint at about 11:30 a.m. Sept. 20. Then, at about 11:25 a.m. Sept. 25, police said he robbed the Redmond store at gunpoint. In each case, police said Martinez-Casillas demanded for the lone female employee in the stores to partially disrobe.

Martinez-Casillas faces a first-degree robbery charge for the Issaquah incident, and could face charges for the Redmond robbery and another Issaquah burglary uncovered by police in the Lovers investigation.

Police said the suspect entered the Issaquah store, used a red T-shirt to obscure his face and removed a handgun from his waistband. The man told the store employee, “Give me all your money,” and she placed $971 from the cash register into a black Lovers bag for him.

The suspect then dragged the employee by her hair into a back room and told her to remove her pants. She initially refused, but he pointed the gun at her face and she removed her pants. The suspect then forced her to climb under a desk, and then stole her cellphone from atop the desk as he fled the store.

Police searched the area, but could not locate the suspect. Investigators then had the employee’s cellphone provider trace the device’s location. The trace led officers to the Park Hill at Issaquah apartment complex, but police could not locate the phone.

Meanwhile, the employee’s father used a family tracking app to locate the phone. He called police Sept. 24 to report the information, but police could not pinpoint the device’s location.

The next day, a man entered the Redmond store, pulled a piece of red cloth over his mouth and pulled a gun from his waistband. The employee handed him $318 from the cash register before he forced her into a back room to open the safe.

Police said he stole about $300 from the safe, and then demanded for the employee to remove her shoes before he fled from the store.

In Issaquah, a police officer learned about the Redmond robbery at 1:45 p.m. that day and, using the information from the phone traces, headed to the Park Hill at Issaquah apartment complex to watch traffic come and go.

The officer noticed Martinez-Casillas — who police knew from earlier contacts — enter the parking lot in a Ford Focus. Once he departed, the officer looked inside the vehicle’s windows and noticed a black hat and some gloves, but nothing to indicate a connection to the robberies.

Police then called the Issaquah store employee’s phone several times and heard it vibrating inside the vehicle.

Officers conducted surveillance on the residence and the vehicle.

Martinez-Casillas agreed to let officers search the Focus. Inside, police found the store employee’s phone, cash inside a door compartment and clothes resembling some from the robberies.

He initially told police he owned the phone when officers asked about it, and said he found the device on a nearby trail.

Officers then arrested him and obtained a warrant to search his residence, vehicle and a backpack he carried at the time of arrest.

Inside the vehicle, investigators found a KWA air gun similar to the weapon described in the robberies, plus the clothes, gloves and sunglasses witnesses described. Officers also discovered $342 in cash.

In addition to the evidence related to the robberies, police recovered a $10,000 racing bicycle stolen from nearby 24 Hour Fitness in June. Investigators also found laptop computers, a backpack and $300 from the burglary of a downtown Issaquah home Aug. 9.

Martinez-Casillas remains in custody at the King County Jail on $200,000 bond and is scheduled for arraignment in King County Superior Court on Oct. 18.

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