Oak Harbor police arrested a man shortly after he robbed the Big 5 Sporting Goods store Nov. 8 while brandishing a weapon, according to court documents.
One witness described the weapon as a compact machine gun, while the suspect told police it was just an Airsoft gun.
Capt. Mike Bailey said officers conducted an extensive search of the area on the day of the robbery and the following day, but the weapon was not located. He said the police have no specific evidence to suggest it was an Airsoft gun, which is air-powered and shoots plastic BBs.
Christopher Rickert, 40, appeared in Island County Superior Court Monday. Judge Vickie Churchill found there was probable cause to believe he committed the crime of robbery in the first degree.
Churchill found that Rickert represented a danger to the community and a risk of flight. She set his bail at $75,000.
Whether the weapon was a real gun may not matter. Under state law, a person may be guilty of robbery in the first degree if he or she is armed with a dangerous weapon or “displays what appears to be a firearm or other deadly weapon.”
Employees at the sports goods store reported to police that the tattooed suspect pulled out a gun, placed a magazine in the gun and pointed it at them, the police report states.
One of the employees said the suspect demanded some merchandise, as well as the employee’s wallet and car keys — though the report doesn’t indicate he took those. The employee said the suspect didn’t seem familiar with the weapon, which the employee identified as a small machine gun.
Another employee told police that the suspect said he was going to jail and he didn’t care.
Police responding to the 911 call found Rickert near a retirement center a short time later and arrested him; an employee from the store positively identified him as the robber, the report states.
Rickert allegedly told police he was the person they were looking for from Big 5 and that the gun was just an Airsoft gun.
The stolen property was recovered not far from the store and no money was taken, according Bailey.