Teen suspects appear in court in robberies in Red Robin parking lot

By Jerzy Shedlock, Columbian staff writer

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Two 17-year-olds accused of robbing unsuspecting electronics sellers in a Vancouver restaurant parking lot are being charged as adults in Clark County Superior Court.

Matching probable cause affidavits in the cases say the teens used a BB gun during three alleged robberies.

Marvel Calixte and Jontay Joseph Cox made initial appearances in court late Thursday morning. Both teens were appointed defense attorneys by Judge Daniel Stahnke.

Calixte has been charged with two counts of first-degree robbery. Stahnke set his bail at $75,000. Calixte has a prior criminal case from 2015, when he was charged with assault and theft, according to Deputy Prosecutor Katie Sinclair.

Cox has been charged with three counts of first-degree robbery. The prosecution requested $100,000 bail, but the judge added an additional $50,000 after hearing his criminal record.

According to Sinclair, Cox’s criminal record includes convictions for theft, burglary and violating his bail conditions.

Sinclair said the high bails were warranted as the defendants pose a safety threat to the community.

The juveniles were kept separately from adult jail inmates during the morning’s multiple first appearance hearings.

Their charges stem from one robbery on Tuesday night and two others on Wednesday afternoon in the parking lot of an east Vancouver Red Robin.

Calixte told investigators he accompanied his co-defendant during the robberies; he said he was unsure what Cox was going to do during the first of three robberies but knew Cox had been “hitting licks,” slang for robbery or burglary, according to the affidavit. Calixte told police that he went with Cox “out of respect.”

According to Vancouver Police Department spokeswoman Kim Kapp, someone who was attempting to sell a video game console called 911 at 9:36 p.m. Tuesday to report a robbery. A would-be buyer met him in the parking lot, displayed a handgun, took a PlayStation 4 game console and fled on foot, Kapp wrote in an email.

The affidavit says the two victims on Wednesday had used the apps Let It Go and Offer Up, intending to sell video game consoles, an Xbox One and a gold PlayStation 4.

Nestor Pachero met with the suspects at the restaurant at 12:30 p.m. while Lucas Balsbough arrived there about an hour later, according to the affidavit. Both victims described the culprits as young men who ran toward the Fisher’s Mill apartment complex, directly west of the restaurant.

“Both Nestor and Lucas reported that during their incidents the suspect with the gun made the comment that he would shoot them,” the affidavit says. “Lucas stated that the suspect that had a gun in his incident also had a tattoo on the top of one of his hands.”

Detectives knew Cox had a hand tattoo and lived at Fisher’s Mill, so officers went to the apartment complex. There they spotted two people matching the suspects’ descriptions exiting an apartment, the affidavit says.

When they saw the police, the suspects ran back inside the apartment and SWAT was called. Five people were eventually detained without incident, police said.

Following interviews, police arrested Calixte and Cox. Nestor identified both of the teenagers in a lineup while Lucas was only able to identify Calixte, according to court documents.

Cox told police in a subsequent interview that he used a BB gun during the robberies, and the three video game consoles would be found in his bedroom, according to the affidavit.