Suspect arrested in string of convenience store robberies in Omak

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Law enforcement in Okanogan County arrested a suspect and two alleged accomplices Tuesday evening in a string of armed robberies dating back to Oct 24.

Okanogan County Sheriff Tony Hawley said his office and the Omak Police Department worked together in identifying and arresting Stephen V. Vasquez, 33, of Omak.

Vasquez was allegedly involved in a high-speed chase Sunday after police responded to a robbery call at the Omak Chevron but he was able to escape on foot after abandoning his vehicle at Omache Shopping Center.

It was from the vehicle that law enforcement were able to gather information that led them to identify Vasquez as a suspect, Hawley said.

On Tuesday, officers and deputies arrested Vasquez at his home on East Grape Avenue.

Stephen V. Vasquez

Vasquez was booked into the Okanogan County Jail on four counts of first-degree robbery; four counts of first-degree kidnapping; two counts of first-degree assault; unlawful imprisonment, second-degree theft; reckless endangerment; and felony eluding.  

Hawley said the kidnapping and imprisonment charges charges stem from the suspect forcing the attendants in all the robberies from one location to another and holding them against their will.

In addition, Moses Lake residents Stephen Vasquez Sr., 56, and Barbara Riley, 53, were booked for first degree rendering criminal assistance.

Vasques St. also had a referral for possession of narcotics and Riley a referral for introducing contraband into a correctional facility.

On Oct. 24, the Stampede Mini Market in Omak was robbed by a suspect armed with a knife. A man matching the same description and also armed with a knife robbed the Jackpot Foodmart in Omak on Nov. 4. Then on Nov. 5, a suspect again of the same description attempted to rob the 76 Station.

On Sunday, while responding to the Okanogan Chevron robbery call, Deputy Erik Orr “noticed the suspect vehicle and due to the nature of the crimes gave chase to the suspect who fled at high speeds traveling northbound in both lanes of highway 97,” the sheriff’s office and police department said in a joint press release.

When the suspect fled on foot outside the mall the area was cordoned off and a lengthy but unsuccessful search ensued, which included a sheriff’s office K-9.