Robbery suspect nabbed by customers

Customers at Market Place Food and Drug helped catch a masked robber who jumped over a counter and forced a clerk to give him cash at knifepoint on Monday.

Interim Oak Harbor Police Chief Rick Wallace said the knife-wielding robber assailed the clerk working in the “secondary post office” counter of the Midway Boulevard supermarket at about 6:15 p.m.

The robber, who was wearing a black ski mask, jumped over the counter and demanded money while pointing a knife at the clerk, Wallace said. The clerk complied.

But the robber was startled when an employee yelled out that a robbery was taking place, so he grabbed some cash and dashed out the door.

Wallace said a customer chased after the robber, tackled him in the parking lot and tried to detain him. The robber, however, attacked the customer with the knife, slashed his coat open and escaped to jump into the passenger side of a waiting car.

A second customer discretely followed the car with the robber and the get-away driver, Wallace said, and called 911 to tell the police where the car was. The police eventually pulled the car over on SIlver Lake Road and arrested the two occupants.

The alleged robber, 28-year-old Kenny T. Mikell of Oak Harbor, was arrested on suspicion of first-degree robbery and second-degree assault. The driver, 20-year-old Sean Rubin of Oak Harbor, was arrested on suspicion of second-degree robbery, as well as several outstanding misdemeanor warrants out of Oak Harbor, Skagit and Whatcom counties.

While Rubin did not participate in the robbery itself, Wallace said he is considered an accomplice because he allegedly assisted in the attempted get-away.

Mikell is being held in Island County jail on $50,000 bail and Rubin is held on $10,000 bail.

Mikell told officers he committed the robbery because he is homeless and has no money, according to Wallace.

Wallace said the police department is sending out letters of recognition to the two men who intervened to help catch the robber. Yet he said tackling bad guys is something that should be left to the police.

“We recognize and appreciate the bravery of the person,” he said, “but we would not recommend that. He’s lucky not to have been hurt. We recommend safely and discretely following a suspect or getting a license plate number.”

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