Airway Heights corrections officer busted for Cheney Dollar Tree robbery

Airway Heights corrections officer busted for Cheney Dollar Tree robbery

An Airway Heights Corrections Center officer was arrested at work by Cheney police officers for the robbery of the Dollar Tree on July 9.

Jeffrey Pool was taken into custody Tuesday on two charges of first-degree robbery, four counts of second-degree assault and four counts of unlawful imprisonment.

Cheney police were called to the Dollar Tree on July 9 after a report of an armed robbery. The same store, located at 2424 First Street, had also been robbed in May 2015, and officers noted “very stark similarities” in the two robberies as well as the description of the suspect in both incidents.

Officers also noted the suspect seemed to have some intimate knowledge of how the Dollar Tree was run and the assistant store manager told police he believed the suspect was either a current or former employee.

The manager who was on duty at the time of the July 9 robbery said he was walking back to the staff/employee bathroom and when he went to push the door open it came into contact with something that was blocking it from opening fully. He leaned into the door, thinking it was cleaning equipment behind the door, but instead was greeted by a figure wearing a black motorcycle helmet and dark clothing. That manager, who had also been on duty during the robbery on May 30, instinctively knew they were about to be robbed again, and grabbed the individual by the helmet and started grappling with him.

The suspect then pulled out a gun, pointed it in the assistant manager’s face while saying “I have a gun” and the manager stopped struggling with him and started complying with the robber’s demands.

The manager, who had 20 years of military experience, recognized the gun as Glock-type semi-automatic pistol, now had the gun in his back as the robber began directing him to do as he was instructed. He pushed the manager into the warehouse area of the store, took out some zip ties and ordered the manager to put them on himself.

When the other employee started paging the manager, she left the front of the store to look for him and found him in the warehouse with the robber. There was an exchange about the manager checking out some customers at the storefront, so the robber told the manager to take care of that but he would hurt the employee if he didn’t do exactly as instructed.

The robber, after the customers left, then instructed the employees to empty the cash registers then directed them to the office where he ordered them to do very specific things, indicating to the manager the robber had intimate knowledge of the store workings. He also recognized during the course of the robbery the suspect’s voice from the 2015 robbery. The suspect, once he had the money, they directed the employees to the back of the store, the same method the robber used in the 2015 robbery, the manager recalled to police.

Another assistant manager was contacted, and he came to the store and said that about 45 minutes before the robbery he had seen Jeffrey Pool in the store. Pool, who he knew from college at EWU, was wearing dark blue uniform pants, a black jacket and was carrying a motorcycle helmet, which that assistant manager later thought was weird because he hadn’t seen a motorcycle outside in the parking lot.

Police were also able to confirm that Pool, who works the graveyard shift at the Airway Heights Corrections Center, had in fact worked at the Dollar Tree two years ago.

During his first appearance in court Wednesday Pool’s bond was set at $500,000.