A forgotten backpack, calls made from a stolen cell phone and an inexplicable slip of the bandanna helped authorities identify a man suspected of being the notorious espresso stand bandit. He's thought responsible for at least 10 robberies across Pierce County.
Prosecutors on Monday charged Francisco S. Madrigal, 32, with nine felonies: seven counts of first-degree robbery and one count each of second-degree kidnapping and unlawful possession of a stolen vehicle.
Pleas of not guilty were entered on Madrigal’s behalf.
He is charged with holding up four coffee stands last week, threatening the baristas with a gun, stealing one of their cars and binding one woman with electrical tape.
A man suspected of being his getaway driver in two of the robberies, Christopher A. Betts, 28, was charged Monday with two counts of first-degree robbery.
Betts also pleaded not guilty.
Superior Court Judge Vicki Hogan ordered Madrigal jailed on $250,000 bail and Betts on $100,000 bail.
Slip-ups by Madrigal led to his capture, according to court records.
The first occurred June 7.
A masked man forced his way into Penelope’s Espresso in University Place, brandished a black pistol and demanded money from the barista on duty.
He then took off with her car and cell phone, the documents state.
The next day, a deputy investigating the crime found a backpack in some nearby bushes. It contained a change of clothes, a roll of electrical tape and documents belonging to Madrigal, the court papers state.
The next mistakes came two days later when a man robbing a Fircrest espresso stand for some reason pulled down the red bandanna he had used to hide his face.
A video camera photographed him. Police disseminated the photo to the media, and at least three people, including a Tacoma police detective, recognized it as Madrigal, according to court records.
The robber stole the barista’s phone during the robbery and later used it to place several calls to one number. That number turned out to belong to Madrigal, according to court records.
Police tracked down and arrested Madrigal on Thursday.
He initially denied any connection to the robberies but later told police through tears that he committed them, according to the records. He implicated Betts as well.
Madrigal allegedly told police he spent some of his ill-gotten gains at the Emerald Queen Casino.
Adam Lynn: 253-597-8644 firstname.lastname@example.org blog.thenewstribune.com/crime