Trio of teen transgressors taken down in Wash.
Suspects in break-in at Cleawox and robbery at American Market also suspected in murder
May 10, 2023 — On the morning of May 5 Florence Police Department (FPD) Chief of Police John Pitcher announced officers in Washington had, in custody, the suspects from break-in and robberies at two convenience stores in the Florence area.
Their arrest came after they were suspected to have also committed a homicide in Toledo, Wash., a town a little over an hour’s drive north of Portland on I-5.
Three individuals, all minors, were arrested for the crimes. They are a 15-year-old male, a 16-year-old female and a 17-year-old male, all of Redding, Calif.
All three suspects were booked into Lewis County (Wash.) Juvenile Detention Center with two being charged as adults for Robbery 1st degree and Murder 1st degree.
The teen trio first came on law enforcement’s radar when, south of Florence, on Monday, May 1 at about 10:30 p.m. the Lane County Sheriff’s Office received a report of an attempted burglary at Cleawox Market. The manager of the location reported that two masked subjects attempted to enter the vacant store after shooting through the front door with a shotgun. Security footage on scene depicted the suspects armed with a shotgun that resembles the appearance of an AK-47 style rifle. The suspects did not make entry into the store.
About a half hour later the FPD responded to the report of an armed robbery that had just occurred at the American Market located near 25th Street on Highway 101. The suspects were wearing masks and armed with what appears to be the same weapon used in the attempted burglary a half hour previous. The suspects stole cigarettes, other smoking devices and an undisclosed amount of cash.
The suspects were then seen headed north in a white, two-door Dodge Dakota pickup and were on the run, with their location unknown to law enforcement, until May 3. On that day, at 8:49 p.m. Lewis County sheriffs were alerted that a passerby had seen two masked individuals quickly exiting a Shell station in Toledo, Wash. They were also advised that the two individuals left in a white extended cab Dodge pick-up and that their actions appeared suspicious.
Deputies arrived to find 30-year-old Navjot Singh deceased with injuries that led them to believe he had been shot. Detectives were summoned to the scene and determined there had been a struggle over a firearm that led to the victims shooting.
In the early afternoon of May 4, FPD alerted Lewis County that their murder suspects appeared to match the description of the suspects in the incidents in Florence a few days prior.
Around that same time both jurisdictions were alerted that Sumner, Wash. police had just taken similarly described suspects into custody when the vehicle they were seen driving was identified as a Dodge pickup that had been reported stolen out of California. In the back seat of the car was “a long gun” that matched the description of a firearm used during the Toledo robbery and also appears to match the gun pictured in surveillance footage from American Market in Florence.
After their arrest the 17-year-old male and 16-year-old female were both charged as adults for the incident in Toledo, Wash. Bail for both was set at $5 million.
The 15-year-old was “dealt with” in Lewis County Juvenile Court. Juvenile court records are protected under Washington state law and are not publicly available.