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UPDATE | Two men charged in Hispanic business robbery spree
Prosecutors filed charges Tuesday against two local men for the targeted robbery of several Hispanic businesses on the Eastside and in Snohomish County over the past three months, including two in Kirkland.
The King County Prosecutor's Office formally charged Kingsgate resident Luis Fernando Koyoc-ek, 33, and Woodinville resident Oscar Chavarria-Sotelo, 24, with a total of eight counts of first-degree robbery in Superior Court. The pair are responsible for at least two armed robberies in Kirkland, three in Redmond, one in Bellevue and several other cases in King and Snohomish counties.
Kirkland Police Lt. Mike Ursino said investigators from five law enforcement agencies coordinated the on-going investigation of Koyoc-ek and Sotelo, who were both arrested at their homes and held at the Kirkland jail Feb. 12.
Bail was set at $100,000 for Koyoc-ek and $50,000 for Chavarria-Sotelo.
According to prosecutors, the crime spree began in Nov. 30 in Redmond when Koyok-ek and Sotelo threatened staff at Preciado Northwest with a gun. The suspects fled the store with $2,000 in cash and jewelry, according to Redmond Police spokesperson Jim Bove.
Then the two men struck Mi Tierra restaurant and store at gunpoint Jan. 16 near the Totem Square Shopping Center in Kirkland. According to the police report, the men demanded money from a female cashier while one pointed a handgun at her head. Koyoc-ek continued to grab the tip jar and dump the money inside a backpack. Neither of the men wore gloves and police later tracked them down using fingerprints from the jar.
The two also held up the Tres Hermanos restaurant in Kirkland.
On Jan. 24, the two men entered Tienda Mi Mazatlan in Redmond and one pulled out a handgun and demanded money from the female clerk. The suspects took off with $600 in cash. Then on Jan. 31, just one man entered the store, pointed a gun at a female clerk and threatened to shoot her if she didn't hand over the money, Bove said. Koyok-ek then allegedly told her to lie down and count to 10, as he ran out of the store with just over $400.
Editor Carrie Wood contributed to this report.