From our sister site The SeaTac Blog:

On Monday, Nov. 4, 2019, King County Sheriff Mitzi Johanknecht announced that the reported Oct. 19 takeover robbery of Bob’s Burgers & Teriyaki in SeaTac was actually a hoax.

The Sheriff, along with SeaTac Police Chief Jon Mattsen, said that during the course of their investigation, detectives determined that as many as ten people, some employees and others who acted as “fake customers,” made up the story of being tied up, robbed by two gunmen and, in the case of two of the “customers,” being sexually assaulted.

Detectives believe the participants concocted the hoax, believing it would assist them in getting U-Visas to avoid deportation.

U-Visas are available to persons who are victims of violent or sexual crimes and who assist law enforcement in solving crimes.

“Make no mistake, false reporting is a crime,” police said. “Falsely reporting a violent crime puts officers and the public at risk and, in this case, it undermines the true intent of the U-Visa program – to protect real victims, mostly women, of violent crime and human trafficking.”

The Sheriff’s Office is currently finishing up this case and will be consulting with prosecutors on criminal charges.

The investigation is continuing, and no suspects are in custody yet.

As we previously reported, on Saturday night, Oct. 19, 2019 at 9:06 p.m., police said that a customer showed up at Bob’s Burger’s, (20054 International Blvd.), and saw multiple people on the floor tied up and saw two males fleeing the scene. The customer called 911.

SeaTac Police responded and found multiple people inside the business tied up, including employees and customers. The victims described told police that they had been robbed by at least two males, wearing masks, with at least one of them armed with a handgun. After tying up the people inside the store, the victims say the suspects demanded money from them and sexually assaulted two of the female customers.

On Oct. 24, police released a photo of a suspected truck used in the faked robbery.

On Monday, Johanknecht held a press conference where she discussed the hoax:

CITY OF SEATAC RELEASES STATEMENT: Late Monday afternoon, the City of SeaTac released the following statement about this incident:

City Statement on Bob’s Burgers Incident

City Manager Carl Cole has issued the following statement on the King County Sheriff’s Office investigation into the Bob’s Burgers take-over robbery.

The City of SeaTac was shocked and dismayed of the news of the October 19 report of a take-over robbery of the Bob’s Burger Shop in the 20000 block of International Boulevard. The City has worked vigorously with the King County Sheriff’s Office to create a safe community for both residents and visitors.

The City would like to thank the King County Sheriff’s Office for their quick response to this incident and commitment of resources to help solve this crime.

The City is disheartened that individuals would falsely report a crime causing the diversion of first responders from other emergency calls and major crime cases.

Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault are not crimes that should ever be falsified. This hoax does harm to all true victims of sexual assault. Just last month, the Mayor declared October as National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. As part of this proclamation, the Mayor stated ,”Domestic violence is a serious and widespread social problem in our nation, with almost half of all female homicide victims in the U.S. having been killed by a current or former male intimate partner and intimate partner violence accounting for 15% of all violent crime.”

SeaTac is a safe and vibrant City and the actions of these individuals do not reflect the character and actions of our diverse community members.

Carl Cole
City Manager

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