Al Talaga, 32, of Aurburn, Washington, was charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm. He faces up to five years in prison.
According to a criminal complaint obtained by The Epoch Times, Seattle police officers responded on June 1 to a report of a burglary in progress at the Sneaker City store on Pike Street.
Officers rushed to the scene and witnessed several people exiting the building through a broken window. Officers gave chase but several ran away, and a driver went onto a sidewalk, nearly hitting an officer and two suspects he was trying to detain.
A witness told police that he saw between 10 and 15 people enter the store, and three or four vehicles parked nearby. Another witness saw a large group gathering in Sneaker City’s parking lot, despite the fact it had been closed since March because of rules imposed amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
One of the witnesses said he saw suspects loading stolen items into a Dodge Magnum that was parked nearby. Police found stolen merchandise and a gun in the driver’s side door panel.
Detectives called the phone number for the owner of the vehicle and Talaga answered. He initially claimed his vehicle had been stolen but eventually admitted that it had not been stolen. He said he was in the area of Sneaker City on the night of the robbery.
Talaga said he broke into Sneaker City and stole some items. He said he did it because the police killed his friend.
“That’s why I’m taking out my anger like that,” he said, adding later, “It’s going to make me happy because I know that my tax dollar that I’m paying, I’m taking it right back.”
Talaga said another gun was inside the glove department. He said he was aware he was not legally able to possess firearms because of prior convictions, including one for robbery in the second degree. He said his DNA and fingerprints would probably be on the gun because he moved it from the glove box.
A search warrant was obtained for the vehicle and a loaded Glock 22 .40 pistol was found in the driver’s side door panel. Another gun, an FNP .40 caliber pistol, was located underneath the floor mat on the passenger side.
Seven new pairs of Air Jordans and other stolen items were also discovered, along with drugs.
No lawyer was listed for Talaga, who was due to appear in court later Wednesday.
The Seattle Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives, a federal agency, worked together to investigate the case.