Jeweler recalls minutes of terror
After a violent robbery leaves him with stitches and a concussion, the owner of Sachi Fine Jewelry and Design wonders, "why Snohomish?"
SNOHOMISH -- Every time the door at Sachi Fine Jewelry and Design opens, all heads inside swing toward the door, as if they were connected by strings to the bell that announces each entry.
Even Shelby, the quiet cocker spaniel, tenses and turns toward the windows at the sound of an emergency siren outside.
But it's in the quiet moments when the store isn't filled with city residents, neighboring business people, friends and well-wishers that Brad Jorgensen and Lesa Kraft relive the terrifying assault and robbery that shattered not only glass jewelry cases Friday, but also the staff's comfort and security.
"It's during the quiet times you see the kid coming at you and you hear the sounds..." Kraft said of the attack that left her scrambling for cover under a desk.
"When everything's happening, you don't process it right away," Jorgensen said.
Shortly before noon on Friday, two armed robbers burst into the store and immediately went on the attack. They wore hooded jackets that hid most of their faces. One confronted Kraft, who was standing in the doorway to the back room, and showered her with pepper spray. The second robber began smashing glass display cases with a hammer.
Jorgensen stepped out of his office next to the door to the back room and the man who had sprayed Kraft also sprayed him, then slammed him in the head with something hard.
"I've got my battle wounds now," he said, referring to the shaved circle on the right side of his head that sports nine stitches, surrounded by black hair.
The robbers fled the store with stolen jewelry and were surprised and hampered in their escape by local residents, one of whom shot out a tire in the pair's getaway car and tried to get them to stop. When they didn't, he fired into the robbers' stolen car and
wounded one of the suspects in the arm. The pair fled to a nearby neighborhood, where they crashed into another car, abandoned their car and fled on foot.
Police captured one of the suspects, an 18-year-old who was booked into the Snohomish County Jail and later was released after he posted $7,500 bail. He obtained an attorney and refused to talk to investigators.
The other suspect escaped, despite an intensive manhunt on the ground and from the air. On Monday, police were negotiating with his attorney in an attempt to get the man to turn himself in, Sofie said. He's believed to be from Seattle.
Police don't know if the second suspect was wounded, or how he left Snohomish County, but "We're confident that he's back in his home arena," Sofie said.
"We're trying to sort this out," Sofie said.
Investigators think all of the stolen jewelry was recovered in the robbers' car, he said. A preliminary estimate indicates the jewelry had a retail value about $15,000. Police also found evidence in the stolen car that links the second suspect to the robbery and assault, Sofie said.
"Everything happened so quick," Jorgensen said, estimating that the robbers were in the store only about two minutes.
"They had a gun, which was dropped on the floor and I was able to kick it out of the way," he said.
The robber who hit him then smashed a third display case and the pair began grabbing a mixture of colored stone and gold jewelry, he said.
"I was able to hit our (silent) holdup alarm. I did tell them the police were on the way. They continued to grab the jewelry that they could and they decided to leave the store," Jorgensen said.
The robbers never spoke, he said.
Stunned and bleeding, he followed them out the door. Their car was parked right in front of the store.
As he got to the door, another local merchant was walking by.
"I hollered, 'Help! Help!' I was unaware he was armed," Jorgensen said.
The merchant pulled his gun and tried to stop to robbers from leaving and pointed the gun at them with both hands, Jorgensen said. The pair didn't stop.
"He then went around to the driver's side of the car. I believe he fired two shots into the (left front) tire. They at that point attempted to back up and he jumped out of the way to avoid them. He then fired a shot into the driver's side window," Jorgensen said.
Kraft, still suffering from the pepper spray, was hiding under the desk when she heard the gunshots.
"I heard the wheels squeal really loud and they proceeded north on Avenue B," she said. "I came out and hit the alarm button again."
Another local resident followed the fleeing car and told police where they went.
"And the rest is history," Jorgensen said.
Realizing he was bleeding, he went back inside the jewelry store and laid on the floor, asking Kraft for help.
While he laid in a pool of blood, he heard someone mention a gunshot wound. He told them he hadn't been shot.
Medical personnel initially feared he had a skull fracture, but he was lucky to get off with stitches and a concussion.
"My worst fear was although I did not feel I was in serious or critical condition, that something was going to happen and they were going to put the paddles on me and I was going to fade out and not be aware of what was happening," Jorgensen said.
Meanwhile, the store he has operated since 1979 reopened about noon on Saturday and Jorgensen and his staff are trying to return their focus to business, but it's tough. The robbery is on everyone's mind, and people continue to stop by to check on them and make sure they're OK. About 25 people were in the store most of the day.
The response from the community has been extremely supportive and "absolutely phenomenal," he said. "On Saturday, it was crazy."
"The paramedics and everybody were wonderful," Jorgensen said. "I have many people to thank, including the guy upstairs."
He praised the paramedics, police, the community, Harborview Medical Center's staff (where he was airlifted), and his staff.
"The question on our minds is 'why Snohomish?' What in their minds made them choose Snohomish, and even my business?" he said.
He hopes events in the community will return to normal.
"This town -- we've had such a bad rap," he said, referring to a fight at a local tavern in late February in which a Bothell fire lieutenant died.
Jorgensen's thoughts aren't just for Snohomish residents, however.
"Whatever families are involved in this, I feel for them for what their kids have done," he said.
You can call Herald Writer Cathy Logg at 425-339-3437.
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