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Marshals arrest man in robberies, carjacking

Fri., April 13, 2012, 10:34 a.m.

A 24-year-old man was arrested without incident on Thursday by a violent crime task force in connection with a Monday robbery in Spokane Valley involving a carjacking and kidnapping of an elderly couple at a Wal-Mart store.

Blaine Allen Cornwell was taken into custody by U.S. Marshals in the 5700 block of North Elm Street as two people were getting into a vehicle about 5 p.m., according to the U.S. Marshals Service.

A second person was also taken into custody, but not booked into jail.

Cornwell is in Spokane County Jail today facing two counts of kidnapping, three counts of first-degree robbery and five counts of second-degree assault.

Some of the charges stem from a similar robbery at a Shopko store in North Spokane on Jan. 30 in which a shoplifter brandished a knife to escape security personnel, the marshals said.

“This was a good one,” said Spokane Sheriff’s Deputy Craig Chamberlin. He said the investigation was initiated by major crimes detectives for Spokane Valley.

On Monday, a man spotted trying to steal items from Wal-Mart at 15700 E. Broadway Ave. was confronted by security personnel as he was leaving the store.

He pulled a knife and swung it at a security guard and then fled into the parking lot where he jumped into a vehicle occupied by an elderly couple seated as passengers. The couple was released near Barker Road and Indiana Avenue. They had been waiting for their daughter to purchase groceries when they were kidnapped.

The U.S. Marshals Service joined a Pacific Northwest Violent Offender Task Force effort to apprehend the suspects.

The task force of federal, state and local officers is used to investigate and apprehend suspects in serious crimes.

This version updates an initial report.

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