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Assault victim’s tattoos lead to robbery arrest

Thu., May 30, 2013

Police looking for link to other cases

A repeat offender’s distinctive neck tattoos led to his arrest Wednesday in the May 23 robbery of a convenience store.

Jesse Luna, 29, was booked into Spokane County Jail on Wednesday on suspicion of robbing a Zip Trip at 1023 W. Wellesley Ave., according to a Spokane police news release. Luna, whose criminal history includes 18 felony convictions, robbed the business at gunpoint and ran from the scene, police say.

The suspect was described as a Hispanic male with writing tattooed on the left side of his neck.

Three days later, on Sunday, Luna was the victim of an unrelated assault. Jack Todd, 28, is accused of stabbing Luna in the back outside a tavern in northeast Spokane, according to court documents. Todd, Luna’s former brother-in-law, has been charged with first-degree assault. Luna was taken to the hospital, where he was treated for a kidney wound and a broken rib.

When officers were interviewing him during the investigation into the assault, they recognized Luna’s tattoo as the one described in the Zip Trip robbery.

Police are investigating any possible connection between this case and 10 other robberies that have occurred in Spokane and Spokane Valley during the last two weeks.

Police have worked with the Spokane County Sheriff’s Department to investigate the string of robberies. Sheriff’s Deputy Craig Chamberlin said a pattern like this is unusual.

“It’s not very common in our area that we have a string of robberies that are so similar in such a short amount of time,” he said.

The robbers have been primarily targeting convenience stores and shops where pipes and other smoking paraphernalia are sold.

Chamberlin said while both departments are “working nonstop” on the robberies, it is not unusual for it to take a long time to close a case like this.

“This isn’t CSI,” Chamberlin said. “We have to develop probable cause to arrest people, and that’s time-consuming.”

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