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Bellevue ice cream robber charged

By Wendy Giroux

A Bellevue man suspected of as many as 13 area robberies -- including heists at six Baskin Robbins stores -- has been charged with multiple counts of second degree robbery.

Jason Paul Knuth, 31, is being held at the King County Jail in Seattle in lieu of $200,000 bail.

One robbery occurred on the Island, and Mercer Island detectives have been working in cooperation with Bellevue police on the overall investigation.

According to charging papers, detectives believe Knuth started an 11-day spree on Dec. 17. That day, a Bellevue Baskin Robbins store in Bellevue was robbed of more than $200. Court documents go on to list the following robberies:

  • On Dec. 18, a Baskin Robbins in Newcastle was robbed of more than $400. The same day, a Baskin Robbins in Federal Way was robbed of all the money in the till.
  • On Dec. 19, the Island Baskin Robbins was robbed of all the money in the till.
  • On Dec. 20, a man tried to rob a Bartell Drugs in Bellevue, but left with no money after a clerk asked ``Are you serious?'' and called for her manager.
  • On Dec. 21, the same Baskin Robbins in Federal Way was robbed of about $55.
  • On Dec. 22, a Chevron station in Bellevue was robbed of all the money in the till.
  • On Dec. 22, a stylist at a hair salon in Federal Way was robbed of $20.
  • On Dec. 26, the same Baskin Robbins in Newcastle was robbed of $25.
  • On Dec. 27, a Shell station in Bellevue was robbed of about $60.

In nearly all of the cases, the victims said the suspect had his hands in his pockets and he implied he had a gun.

The day after the last robbery, Bellevue police officers spotted an occupied car parked after midnight at a middle school not far from where several of the robberies had occurred. When they approached, they saw a man matching the description of the robber in the above cases, masturbating, court records state.

The man had such a strong resemblance to the serial robber's appearance in surveillance photographs that the officers took him to be interviewed by detectives. At first, Knuth denied having anything to do with the crimes. The unemployed truck driver later admitted committing robberies and claimed he did it to buy Christmas presents.

According to court documents, detectives later found items of clothing believed to have been worn during the robberies in Knuth's vehicle and at the Bellevue home he shares with his parents.

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