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Police arrest one suspect in attack on cabbie

Two men have been accused in an attack on a cab driver who was beaten, forced to strip and robbed.

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By Rikki King
Herald Writer
LYNNWOOD -- Police have apprehended one of two men accused of robbing a cab driver at knifepoint near Lynnwood on Dec. 3.
The cab driver, 51, had been called to give someone a ride in the area of 164th Street SW and North Road about 11 p.m.
The cab driver was met by two men. One had a knife, the other said he had a gun, according to a police affidavit. The men beat the cab driver, prodded and jabbed him with the knife, forced him to take off his clothes and tried to make him empty out his bank account at an ATM. They also stole his cab and his wallet and threatened to kill his family.
Police found the victim with a bloodied face and blood dripping from his ear.
Earlier this week, the Snohomish County Sheriff's Office released surveillance video showing part of the robbery in hopes of identifying the suspects.
Behind the scenes, a sheriff's sergeant already was developing information, court papers show. The telephone number used to call the cab driver had been disconnected. The sergeant searched multiple police databases until he found the number in an old Everett police report. The number was associated with Eric Johnson, 27, of Lynnwood. Johnson had a history of assault.
Johnson's jail booking photo from March appeared to match one of the men seen in the video, according to the affidavit. Investigators believe Johnson may have tried a similar style robbery on a cab driver in the area a few days later but ran way before going through with it.
Police then obtained a search warrant for phone records related to the calls the suspects made to the cab service. They found text messages reportedly identifying Johnson as someone using the phones, court papers say.
Text messages allegedly showed Johnson was "desperate for finding money," officers wrote in the report.
Johnson was arrested Thursday and booked into the Snohomish County Jail for investigation of first-degree robbery, first-degree kidnapping and second-degree assault. He also has been charged with robbery.
Police are seeking his accomplice, sheriff's spokeswoman Shari Ireton said Friday.
The second suspect is described as a white man, about 6 feet tall and 200 pounds. He was wearing glasses when the crime occurred.
Anyone with information should call 425-388-3845. Tips can be anonymous.
Rikki King: 425-339-3449;
Story tags » LynnwoodAssaultCrimePoliceRobbery

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