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Originally published January 21, 2010 at 9:29 PM | Page modified January 22, 2010 at 5:22 PM

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4 Bellevue boys planned armed robbery in order to buy Xbox game

Four boys, one just 11, were charged Thursday for allegedly holding up a Bellevue gas station clerk at gunpoint.

Seattle Times staff reporter

Four boys — an 11-year-old and three 15-year-olds — had been plotting an armed robbery for weeks because they wanted money to buy an Xbox game console, prosecutors allege in charging documents filed Thursday.

They called off their first attempt, at a Bellevue 7-Eleven, after the four boys decided the store clerk was too big to overpower, prosecutors say.

They next targeted a Chevron Food Stop, also in Bellevue, according to charging documents. Because the boys believed the clerk to be "a short, scrawny guy," they carried out the robbery on Sunday night using an Airsoft Pistol, which is a fake gun, charging papers said.

All four boys, including the 11-year-old and his 15-year-old brother, were charged Thursday with first-degree robbery in King County Juvenile Court. The Times is not naming the youths because they are being charged as juveniles.

Two of the four youths were booked into the King County Youth Center on Monday. Only one 15-year-old remained in custody on Thursday, said Dan Donohoe, spokesman for King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg. It's unclear why the three others were released and why two were not booked into the youth center.

Because of the youngest defendant's age, prosecutors will have to present their case before a judge in what is called a "capacity hearing," Donohoe said. Prosecutors will have to show that the youth understands the crime he is accused of before proceeding with his prosecution.

There are no plans to charge any of the boys as adults, Donohoe said.

According to the charging papers, one of the 15-year-olds told his 11-year-old brother on Sunday to grab his Airsoft pellet gun and a bag. Once their mother was asleep, the boys met up with the two other youths at Crossroads Shopping Center, charging documents said.

Shortly before midnight, the two boys walked into the Food Stop in the 16200 block of Northeast Eighth Street. The 11-year-old pretended to buy candy while his brother put the distracted clerk in a choke hold and pressed the pistol to his shoulder, charging papers said.

Police said the boy with the handgun took about $200 from the till. The two boys ran out of the store and met up with the other boys, charging papers said.

The boys were stopped, unrelated to the crime, by a Bellevue police officer on South Main Street about a half-hour after the robbery.

The officer frisked the boys and called one of their parents. The man who came for the boys said that the boys were supposed to be staying with him at his home in the 800 block of 164th Avenue Southeast, court charging papers said.

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At some point that night the officer who stopped the boys viewed surveillance video from inside the Food Stop and recognized the youths inside the store as the ones he had stopped a short time earlier, charging documents said. Officers found the four boys at the home on 164th Avenue Southeast.

Officers said the boys all talked about a shared plan to rob a convenience store to collect money to buy the game console, charging papers said. One of the youths showed police where they had dumped the Airsoft pistol after the robbery, prosecutors say.

Charging papers don't say whether the cash was recovered.

An orange tip, typically used to distinguish pellet guns from real firearms, had been removed from the Airsoft pistol, police said. The mother of the two brothers identified the replica weapon as belonging to her 11-year-old son, charging papers said.

Jennifer Sullivan: 206-464-8294 or jensullivan@seattletimes.com

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