SPOKANE, Wash – Two more businesses were robbed at gunpoint in the Spokane area Monday night, now bringing the total number in the last two weeks up to 11.
They are convenience stores, pizza shops, gas stations, and marijuana shops; and employees say they have to stop.
"He came busting in here with his gun, and made us go to the back," the owner of The Herbal Connection, Paul Lugo, told KHQ's Kelsey Watts.
Lugo said the suspect was walking down the street wearing a winter scarf wrapped around his face – in the broad daylight of late May – before he peeked through the door of The Herbal Connection in the Garland district. Then he busted in, loaded up a pillowcase with merchandise, and ran out the back door.
But Lugo was on his heels.
"He was turned around [with his gun], so once you do that, I'm going to do what I need to do," Lugo explained.Lugo fired one shot at the suspect, but he got away.
Then, just four hours later, two men armed with guns busted into the Puffin Glass store on Sprague in Spokane Valley. They tied the clerk up with duct tape before ransacking the registers, and bolting out the back door.
"I fear for everybody who has to work the night out here, especially by themselves," Puffin Glass Manager Avery Young told KHQ's Kelsey Watts.
Once the suspect got himself free, he called Young, who happened to be driving nearby.
"He said he got duck taped and had two guns pointed in his face," Avery said. "I thought he was messing with me."
But he wasn't.
The suspects were caught on surveillance camera inside the store, but now, Puffin Glass will be making changes. Outdoor cameras will be added, the back door will be kept locked, and employees will never work alone again.
"He didn't deserve that," Young said. "Nobody deserves that, nobody deserves to have guns in their face."
"There's somebody out there who, probably by now, is thinking they're going to get away with it," Lugo added. "But eventually they're going to make a mistake."