An investigation by an Oak Harbor police officer led to the apprehension of a suspected robber from California and possibly prevented an armed robbery on Whidbey, police officers say.
A detective from Fresno contacted Oak Harbor police last Tuesday and alerted officers that one of the suspects in a series of armed robberies may be in Oak Harbor. The Fresno police located the general whereabouts of the suspect, 21-year-old Sean E. Miller, by “pinging” his cell phone, according to Sgt. Detective Teri Gardner.
Miller was wanted on a warrant and considered “armed and dangerous,” Gardner said. He and another man, who was arrested in California, were suspected of robbing a couple of 7-Eleven stores and two other conveniences stores at gunpoint during a 24-hour period; Gardner said they may also be tied to other robberies.
Police officers set up surveillance at locations they suspected Miller might be, based on the cell phone information. But the officers were unable to find him.
Then Officer Jennifer Yzaguirre was contacted by a confidential informant who had called Crime Stoppers to inquire about Miller. Yzaguirre said she met up with the informant, who told her Miller would be at the 7-Eleven on the south end of the city in the evening of Jan. 23. The informant said he would be in a white car.
Yzaguirre and three other officers staked out the business in an unmarked car. When the white car arrived and parked at the pumps, Yzaguirre decided to pretend to get gas and pulled the car full of cops behind the suspect’s vehicle. The officers jumped out of the car and arrested Miller as he was sitting in the car. He was not armed.
“It went smoothly,” Detective Carl Seim said. “A lot smoother than we had anticipated.”
Gardner and Seim pointed out that Miller had told people he was planning on leaving Oak Harbor soon. They speculated that he may have needed to get some quick cash.
“Officer Yzaguirre most likely saved Oak Harbor from a robbery,” Seim said.
The informant will likely receive the $1,000 from Crime Stoppers. Miller was extradited back to Fresno.
“This is an extremely dangerous individual who was captured without incident,” Oak Harbor Police Officer Ed Green said in press release. “The officers of the Oak Harbor Police Department are to be commended for their proactive response in locating this person; working with the information they were given and the information they solicited from the community. This is proof that, if we work together, we can keep our community safe and secure.”