December 21, 1998
SEATTLE--Last week, police freed a 31-year-old Bellevue man they had arrested as a suspect in a Woodinville armed robbery and sexual assault from Dec. 8 while investigators continue to search for evidence that links him to the scene, or clears him of suspicion.
"We are not going to send a case to the prosecutors without good evidence," said John Urquhart, King County Sheriff's spokesman.
After being picked up on a theft warrant at his Seattle job Dec. 11, the man was questioned then arrested for investigation of rape and robbery and held over the weekend in the King County Jail. Authorities had until last Wednesday to charge the man.
Sources say that while a clerk at a Woodinville health supplement store identified him in a photo montage, she didn't recognize him in a police lineup early last week. Redmond and Bellevue detectives had recognized the man from a police sketch and alerted county deputies.
Last week, Urquhart said the man was still being considered a "person of interest" in an armed robbery and rape that occurred in Juanita, as well as a robbery at a Lake Forest Park ice cream parlor and five other robberies in Seattle. But the owner of a consignment shop that was hit in North Seattle also couldn't pick him out of the lineup.
Urquhart said the man's release "doesn't preclude filing charges at a later date, or exonerating him."
Meanwhile, Woodinville police hit the streets again, talking to business owners, and passing out a safety brochure and a sketch of the suspect.
Urquhart passed on the following advice as well: "Be on the lookout. Be aware of your surroundings. Whether we catch this guy or not, that's just good advice."