Four University Place teenagers arrested in connection with the home-invasion robbery Wednesday of an 84-year-old Tacoma woman made their first appearances in Pierce County juvenile court Thursday.
A judge found sufficient evidence to hold the teens on charges of first-degree robbery with a firearm and first-degree kidnapping, deputy prosecutor Fred Wist said.
The severity of the charges could send the teens – one 16 years old, three 17 and all dropouts from Curtis High School – to adult court for trial.
More charges could be brought against the four as the investigation continues.
The teens are being investigated in connection with 30 other crimes, including home invasions, burglaries and armed robberies in parking lots, sheriff’s spokesman Ed Troyer said.
Items taken from the Tacoma woman were found with one of the four teens when they were arrested, police spokesman Mark Fulghum said.
Four masked robbers – two armed with handguns – broke into the woman’s home in the 8800 block of 27th Street West on the border with University Place about 3 a.m.
They held the woman hostage, ransacked her home and then fled in her car. She was “shook up,” but not injured, police said.
The teens also are being investigated for a burglary about the same time at an apartment next door to the woman’s home, Fulghum said. That person’s car also was stolen.
Police found both cars parked next to each other about a mile or two away from the complex.
Two of the teens were arrested Wednesday night after one allegedly pulled a gun on a sheriff’s deputy. The confrontation followed a brief foot pursuit in the area of 40th Street West and 78th Avenue Court West, Troyer said.
“One of them pulled a gun on our deputies but eventually dropped the gun,” Troy-er said.
The other two teens were arrested without incident, he said.
Stolen weapons and items linked to 30 armed robberies, home invasions and residential burglaries were found after deputies searched the teens’ houses, Troyer said.
Detectives have identified two other teens likely involved in the string of crimes and are trying to find them, he said.
“We’re not ruling out that there are others involved,” Troyer said. “It’s a very dangerous game they were playing.”