Police track robbery suspect through call to Hoquiam home
A former Hoquiam man was arrested in Alaska after they tracked a call on his cell phone.
According to Homer News, a man walked into a Homer liquor store in late December. He was armed with a gun, and fired a shot into the floor when the clerk didn’t move fast enough, leaving with over $1000 in cash.
Police were able to track a cell phone call made to 911 just before the robbery from a man saying that he ran off the road and that his girlfriend was bleeding and needed an ambulance. Police and fire crews were sent to the scene, but no car and no victims were found.
Homer Police Sgt. Lary Kuhns told the newspaper that he believes the 911 call had been a decoy to draw emergency responders out of downtown and increase response time to the robbery.
Comparing audio from the liquor store security cameras and the 911 call, police believe they were both the same man. They found that the call came from a prepaid TracFone, and after serving a search warrant on the company, they found that the phone had been used to call a home in Hoquiam and other numbers that linked to 29 year old Michael McClendon.
In a search of his home, police found a sawed-off .22-caliber rifle and a black mask similar to that worn by the robber. McClendon confessed to the robbery, said Kuhns. He said he placed the 911 call as a diversion.
McLendon is charged with first-degree robbery, third-degree assault, theft of a firearm, first-degree misconduct involving weapons for felon in possession of a firearm, and tampering with physical evidence.