Men posing as police to kidnap, rob fast food managers


by TONYA MOSLEY / KING 5 News and Staff

Posted on October 29, 2009 at 1:59 PM

Updated Thursday, Oct 29 at 5:12 PM

TACOMA, Wash. – Police say two men are posing as police officers to kidnap and rob fast food managers.

Officials with the Pierce County Sheriff's office and Tacoma and Lakewood Police say, in three different instances, mangers were pulled over by a vehicle with red and blue flashing lights shortly after closing and leaving the restaurant.

"The fact that they're using police tactics … to facilitate this crime makes it of great concern," said Sgt. Jerry Bates, Tacoma Police Department.

Two unidentified men wearing bandanas over their faces approached the managers' cars, showed guns and then handcuffed the victims.

One suspect takes the manager back to the restaurant and then, at gunpoint, forced the victim to unlock the doors, open the safe and give them cash.

Detectives believe the second suspect then picks up the first after the robbery.

The kidnappings and robberies happened on the following dates:
-Oct. 5, 2009, 12:49 a.m. at the McDonald's on Steilacoom Boulevard in Lakewood.
-Oct. 23, 2009, 3:15 a.m. at the Wendy's on Hosmer Street in Tacoma
-Oct. 25, 2009, 2:30 a.m. at the Burger King on Mountain Highway in Graham.

In the most recent robbery, the victim was driving with her son in the car. Her son was put in handcuffs and forced into the trunk.
The manager who was stopped during the McDonald's robbery is now working at another location.

Both men are described as white males, ages 20-25 years old, 5-feet 8-inches tall with thin builds. During the robberies, the suspects have been wearing dark hooded sweatshirts, dark hats, bandanas, and gloves, and have been armed with handguns. They were driving a dark newer SUV and an older black Honda with tinted windows and with red and blue lights on the dashboard.

Tacoma-Pierce County Crime Stoppers is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and charges filed in the case. Callers will remain anonymous. Call (253) 591-5959 with information.

Police say if you're ever being stopped by an unmarked car and you have a funny feeling about it, slow down and call 911 and detail to dispatch exactly what's going on. Bates says most real officers will understand your caution.