Detectives have arrested seven people for four robberies, including two take down style armed robberies at a McDonalds and a Zip Trip in late May.
Six of the individuals were arrested, which included five adults and two juveniles, were taken into custody Thursday; the last suspect was arrested Friday. The suspects were wanted in connection with four armed robberies that took place between May 30 and June 27.
On May 30, four individuals took over the McDonalds at 4647 S. Regal. The four people were all wearing similar black clothes, black masks and latex gloves. The following night two people armed with guns and wearing black masks robbed a Zip Trip convenience store at 2020 W. Francis in north Spokane.
Some of the suspects were also wanted for a armed home invasion robbery at 2900 N. Hogan on June 5 and another at 1700 E. Columbia on June 27.
The individuals who were arrested were identified by Spokane Police as:
- 23 year old Michael D. Brown
- 21 year old Dwayne J. Tolbert
- 18 year old Alexsis A. Schell
- 24 year old Christopher M. Comer
- 25 year old Derek L. Wilson
All five were booked into the Spokane County Jail. The other two suspects, a 16-year-old male and a 15-year-old female, were taken into juvenile detention.
Then Friday night, the SWAT team helped execute an arrest warrant at the Rosewood Club apartment complex at 401. E. Magnesium Road. Police were searching for an eighth suspect identified as 25-year-old Avery L. Loring. However, police said he was not home. Sgt. Joe Peterson with the Spokane Police Department said the recent rash of robberies have been the most violent he's seen in his 30 years on the force.
"Just the audacity of these were mind boggling to me," Peterson said, "We believe, or certainly believe had we not got them, somebody was going to be injured certainly. (It would happen) during one of the robberies or an officer stopping one of these guys just by chance without knowing they just robbed a place."
Investigators say all of the suspects have some gang affiliation, but that they were not working as a robbery ring necessarily. They added that drugs were involved with the home-invasion robberies.
Major Frank Scalise with the Spokane Police Department said that while these suspects are not classified as repeat offenders, they are considered prolific offenders, so seeing their names involved with these crimes comes as no surprise.
"That's why it has been a priority in the investigative division over the last six weeks to find the individuals who are responsible for this, because there is a threat to the community when people are out there on the streets committing these types of crimes," Scalise said.
The seven people that were arrested will now facing 1st Degree Robbery charges; police say that more felony charges will be added once Major Crimes detectives finish their investigation. Two of the suspects made their first appearances Friday while the rest will appear next week.
In addition to the arrests, detectives also seized three vehicles and executed a search warrant at a home in the 2400 block of East Francis, where evidence related to the robberies was found.
The arrest of one of the suspects, Dwayne Tolbert, is an apparent about face from last December, when he was featured in a Wednesday's Child segment on KXLY where he talked about escaping the world of crime.
Tolbert was born behind bars to a drug selling, drug addicted mom. He said he moved from house to house, embarrassed because he was in foster care.
But, last December, he said he turned his life around, and was featured as part of a music video, about the foster care system and the struggles that go with it.
Tolbert told Robyn Nance he dropped out of high school, but later went back and got his GED. He said that he took his role as a voice for others in the system very seriously.
"All kids deserve to be loved and taken care of. I think foster parents should give their all to whatever kid comes to their home 'cause you could save one kid's life just by loving them and caring for 'em 'cause my foster parents saved my life," he said.
Now it appears Tolbert may have fallen back into his criminal ways and could be facing some serious jail time if convicted on these new charges.