RIVERSIDE A “stocky, believed-to-be Hispanic” man is being sought by Okanogan County Sheriff’s Office deputies in connection with Monday’s strong-arm robbery of Riverside Grocery.
The suspect escaped with approximately $600 after knocking down and punching store owner Kim Nagy at about 11:54 a.m., Sheriff Frank Rogers said, adding that the suspect may also be connected to a robbery in Ellisforde.
At the 102 N. Main St. store, a sign was posted on the door shortly after noon that said: “Robbed, closed until …”
A defiant and bruised Nagy reopened her store about an hour after the attack. She was greeted by hugs from town residents and regular customers who said the robber was lucky they weren’t around at the time of the incident.
Nagy recounted the attack for them, investigators and the media.
“I came up from the back of the store and there was a guy standing here,” Nagy said, pointing to a spot inside the front door. “He pushed me in the corner, hit me three times and went straight to the register.”
The assailant fled in a minivan – described as a blue Dodge Caravan with a turquoise bumper – toward Omak.
“We know it left town and was spotted on Old Riverside Highway,” Rogers said.
Riverside town officials also reported seeing the van flee town, and detectives took statements from others who reported seeing the vehicle.
Nagy, who has owned the store at Main Street for about 25 years, said it’s the first time she’s been robbed.
But there have been previous break-ins when the store was closed.
The owner told authorities that she didn’t get a good look at her assailant’s face because he was wearing a red bandana and glasses.
The suspect was about 5-foot-8 or 5-foot-9, Roger said, noting deputies are looking for information on the strong-arm robbery. Deputies are also reviewing video footage of the incident.
“We know he had a knife and a long leather strap on his wrist,” Rogers said.
“And he did threaten to kill her (Nagy) when she was on the ground.”
Deputies recovered the knife from the store’s floor.
The sheriff called Nagy a “tough” owner, who didn’t “waste any time” calling in the robbery after she was attacked.
“She fought back,” he said. “She did good.”
Calling her attacker “some bastard,” Nagy said: “I hurt, but I’m OK.”
Rogers said the suspect’s description is similar to one provided in the Sept. 8 robbery of Dan’s Market, 32144 U.S. Highway 97, Ellisforde.
“It makes us wonder,” Rogers said. “Is this tied to the Ellisforde robbery?”
In that robbery, a stocky Hispanic man wearing a red bandana threatened a clerk with a box knife and made off with about $1,500.
The suspect there was also described as about 5-foot-7, wearing a baseball hat, a dark-colored hooded flannel shirt, dark jeans and black gloves. The Riverside robber was not wearing gloves.
Rogers said anyone with information on either robbery or the suspect should contact Sgt. Tony Hawley or Detective Rob Heyen by calling 509-422-7232.