Lowe's evacuated Saturday after armed suspect enters store with BB gun

Staff writerJune 24, 2013 

Emergency dispatchers called for an evacuation of the Lowe's in the 4000 block of Martin Way Saturday afternoon after an armed robbery suspect entered the store.

Dispatchers had reason to believe that the suspect had a handgun at the time he entered the store, but responding Olympia officers later recovered a BB pistol.

The suspect, Kenneth Parmley, was arrested trying to exit the store through the rear of the Lowe's garden center. Parmley, 52, was ordered held at the Thurston County Jail on suspicion of first-degree robbery during a court hearing Monday. His bail was set at $50,000.

Moments before emergency dispatchers requested that Lowe's management evacuate the store about 3 p.m. Saturday, the victim had called 911, stating that "a white male tried to rob him and the male had a gun," court papers state.

Police set up a perimeter around the Lowe's covering all of the exits as the store was evacuated, according to court papers.

Also according to court papers:

The caller reported that Parmley had tried to rob him in the nearby Safeway parking lot, but was now entering the Lowe's store, court papers state.

Olympia police officers located a BB gun magazine in Parmley's front pants pocket. The BB gun was located under some plastic storage bins outside the Lowe's.

The attempted robbery victim told police he had picked Parmley up at the Jack-In-The Box earlier on Saturday when Parmley had called him requesting help after his car broke down.

The victim said he used to sell Parmley heroin. During the drive, Parmley allegedly asked the victim to buy him heroin, and he refused. The man said he drove Parmley to the Safeway parking lot, where Parmley's car was supposedly parked. It was at this point, the victim told police, that Parmley produced a gun and said he was robbing him.

The victim said he jumped out of the parked vehicle and Parmley got out of the other side. The victim said he asked Parmley "if he was going to rob me with a BB gun," and Parmley responded, "this is a real gun." The victim told police he then fled and Parmley walked into Lowe's.

Jeremy Pawloski: 360-754-5445 jpawloski@theolympian.com

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