Armed robber’s taxi cab escape plan foiled

Find out how police unraveled this suspect’s “perfect” getaway plan after purportedly robbing a Centennial neighborhood convenience store …

In the wee hours, a man – with a taxi cab waiting for him in the parking lot – pulls out a knife and robs this outer East Portland convenience market.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

Perhaps 33-year-old Kelton Victor Holmes thought he had a great plan for quick cash and some smokes – by hiring a taxi cab to take him for a ride, including stopping at the Plaid Pantry store located at 16226 SE Division Street early on October 29 – and then using the unwitting driver to get away after going inside with a knife, purportedly to rob the market.

Or, maybe he flagged down the cab on a whim, and after that decided to commit an armed robbery; we may never know.

What is known is that, at 1:18 a.m. that morning, the 9-1-1 Center dispatched Portland Police Bureau (PPB) East Precinct officers on a report that this Plaid Pantry store had just been robbed.

This is the knife that police say suspect Holmes brandished while robbing the store. PPB supplied image

“Officers learned that the suspect entered the store, brandished a knife, and demanded money and other items, which he received, and then exited the premises – and was seen entering a yellow taxi cab that drove out of the parking lot,” said PPB Public Information Officer Sgt. Chris Burley.

Quickly, police dispatchers put out a radio call describing the man – and the taxi cab – suspected to be involved in the robbery.

Police begin looking for the get-away car, a yellow taxi.

“An officer located the taxi cab near SE 136th Avenue and Division Street, and performed a traffic stop on the vehicle and its occupants,” Burley said.

When the cab stopped, the rear passenger, later identified as Holmes, popped open the door and took off running.

But as soon as a PPB Canine Team police dog took a sniff of the cab’s back seat, it started tracking Holmes southward along SE 136th Avenue, and took down the suspect near SE Clinton Street, one block south of Division Street.

Trying to fend off a police dog, the suspect gets bitten.

“After the suspect was taken into custody, he was treated at the scene by emergency medical personnel for a canine bite,” Simpson said.

“The driver of the taxi cab remained at the scene and cooperated with investigators and was not taken into custody,” noted Simpson.

Facing two felony robbery charges is 33-year-old Kelton Victor Holmes. MCDC booking photo

Holmes was booked into the Multnomah County Detention Center at 6:12 a.m. that morning on a charge of Robbery in the First Degree, a Class A Felony.

At his arraignment later that day, Holmes picked up an additional charge of Robbery in the Second Degree – perhaps for not paying his cab driver. He remains in custody at MCDC, in lieu of $500,000 combined bail.

© 2018 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™


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