WALLA WALLA -- A local gang member has been charged in Superior Court with arming himself with a handgun and robbing the Zip Zone Conoco of beer last month.
Corey J. Reece, 24, of 923 1/2 W. Chestnut St., was charged Monday afternoon with first-degree robbery and second-degree unlawful possession of a firearm.
Reece was arrested Friday as he was leaving his home and was booked into the County Jail. Bail was set Monday at $50,000.
Officials believe Reece pulled a sweatband up around his face as he allegedly entered the Zip Zone store at 110 N. Ninth Ave. about 1 a.m. Feb. 18, walked to the cooler and took two 12-packs of beer. The clerk on duty then saw the robber reach into his pants and retrieve a pistol, but the gun got caught and the magazine ejected, according to a police report filed in court.
The robber then scrambled to pick up the magazine and the clerk told him to take the beer and leave. As "the suspect was exiting the store the suspect paused and told (the clerk) if he came outside he would 'blast' him," the police report says.
The robber reportedly left in a gold-colored sedan heading west on Alder Street. A similar car later was located by a sheriff's deputy a few blocks away, according to a news release. Several known gang members fled, but left behind open containers of the same brand of beer stolen during the robbery.
Police developed evidence to arrest Reece after viewing surveillance videos and interviewing several people, officials said.
Reece, a convicted felon, has been arrested in the past for alleged drug offenses, weapons violations and assaults. Most recently charges accusing him of breaking several windows in vehicles and at a residence in September were dismissed, reportedly because witnesses became uncooperative.
Terry McConn can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 526-8319.