WALLA WALLA -- A local gang member accused of arming himself with a handgun and robbing the Zip Zone Conoco of beer last month is scheduled for trial May 17 in Walla Walla County Superior Court.
Corey J. Reece, 24, of 923 1/2 W. Chestnut St., pleaded innocent Monday afternoon to charges of first-degree robbery and second-degree unlawful possession of a firearm.
Officials believe Reece pulled a sweatband up around his face as he allegedly entered the Zip Zone at 110 N. Ninth Ave. about 1 a.m. on 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 on March 4 after viewing surveillance videos and interviewing several people, officials said. Bail was set at $50,000.
A convicted felon, Reece has been arrested in the past for alleged drug offenses, weapons violations and assaults.
Terry McConn can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 526-8319.