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Bellevue pot shop robbery suspects tracked to Kent with tracking device

A group of suspects robbed Higher Leaf Cannabis in Bellevue late Monday night.

BELLEVUE, Wash. — Four suspects in a Bellevue pot shop robbery are in custody after police tracked a device hidden in the cash registers that were stolen late Monday night.

At around 10:45 p.m. Monday, four suspects with handguns broke into Higher Leaf Cannabis on 156th Avenue SE. 

Three cash registers were taken from the business, all of which contained tracking devices, according to police. Police were able to track the devices to an apartment complex in Kent, where all four suspects were taken into custody Tuesday morning at around 1 a.m.

Several of the suspects attempted to flee from the apartment complex, but police utilized K-9s to track down and arrest them.

After serving a warrant on the apartment, Bellevue Police found four handguns, money and packaged marijuana it says contexts the suspects to the armed robbery.

“This is outstanding work by both our officers and Kent PD to work quickly to arrest these armed and dangerous suspects,” said Major Dave Sanabria in a Bellevue Beat Blog post. “The technology also played a significant role in allowing us to follow the suspects safely and ultimately get them into custody.”

Captain Landon Barnwell of the Bellevue Police Department says anti-theft devices are becoming more commonly used.

"Think we are seeing a lot on the retail side. Banks and other financial institutions have always kind of employed things like that. but now we are seeing a lot of retail stores that are using these trackers," Barnwell told KING 5.

While the store was still open during the robbery, no one was hurt.

An 18 and 22-year-old male were booked into King County Jail, while two other 17-year-old suspects were booked into the King County Detention Center.

The Liquor and Cannabis Board says it hired a security professional to do risk assessments on the retail stores and one of the top recommendations was to use tracking devices.

"Five or 10 years ago you didn't see the technology you do now. That's helpful for investigators and certainly helpful for prosecutors," said Casey McNerthney with the King County Prosecuting Attorney's Office.

McNerthney said the technology is rapidly changing, "Just because criminals or alleged criminals may know about one type of technology, that doesn't mean there are not two or three or others being used that they may not know about."

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

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