Spokane Police confirm Stephen Corkery, the suspected armed robber shot and killed by officers Wednesday night, was responsible for a series of holdups that have kept small business owners on edge the past month.
Investigators believe Corkery used a gun and a borrowed Chevy Tahoe SUV to satisfy his heroin addiction in almost a dozen armed robberies, including his last heist at the Sunny Buns Tanning Salon earlier this week.
Corkery knew he was going to get caught; in fact, he had prepared a note for police clearing his friends of any involvement in these robberies, and wrote a second letter to his family explaining why he had done so many holdups.
He knew he was living on borrowed time when he began a series of hold ups to support his heroin habit. As the robberies became almost a daily occurrence police hoped they would catch their suspect before someone got hurt.
Crime analysts began using the thief's modus operandi to try and project where he might strike next. Using that information the police department would then put out surveillance teams to try and catch up with Corkery.
However ultimately it was a tip from the community that led police to a home near the intersection of Grace and Maple where they confronted him. Corkery had already confided in the people who were living there that he was the serial robber and that he wasn't going back to prison.
In his own words Corkery knew "it would all go down" and knew what it would take to get police to shoot him.
Police have located the Chevy Tahoe that was spotted being driven away following the Sunny Buns hold up Tuesday night. Victims at numerous businesses have been successfully picking Corkery's picture out of photo line-ups.
Friends have told investigators that Corkery was using a couple of grams of heroin a day and without it would become drug sick. At today's prices that's a minimum of $140 of heroin every 24 hours and that's why Corkery had become such a prolific robber.
On Friday, his espresso stand victims, many of them who had started packing a gun at work, said they were glad Corkery's crime spree was over.
"Once it happens to you it's always in the back of your mind that it could happen again so I think that knowing this guy, at least this particular guy is now gone, that they can rest a little easier," Jitterz Java barista Krystal Cogswell said.