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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Armed man ties up manager, robs Spokane Valley tavern

Spokane Valley Police Cpl. Jim Wakefield assists the manager of Poppy’s Tavern up onto a sidewalk after she had her hands bound with zip ties and was robbed Wednesday morning by an armed gunman. She freed herself from the ties after about 10 minutes. (Dan Pelle)

An armed robber made off with an undisclosed amount of cash and two beers Wednesday after tying up the manager at Poppy’s Tavern in Spokane Valley.

The robber used zip ties to restrain a woman who managed the tavern at 415 S. Dishman-Mica Road, according to Spokane Valley police. He was armed with a semi-automatic handgun.

According to the woman, whose name wasn’t released, the gunman visited the tavern on Tuesday and drank a couple of beers. He returned Wednesday and ordered beer, then brandished the handgun and demanded cash just before 11 a.m., according to Sgt. Dave Martin of the Spokane Valley Police Department.

He then bound the woman’s hands in front of her body using zip ties and left through the tavern’s back door. He took two beers in a paper bag when he left, police said.

It took the manager about 10 minutes to get loose of the zip ties and call police.

Police tried tracking the suspect with a dog but were unsuccessful, leading them to believe he left in a car.

The woman described the suspect as 35-40 years old, with little or no facial hair, wearing a blue sweatshirt and blue jeans. He was wearing a “fishing style” hat, which matches the description of a man who robbed a Bank of Fairfield branch in Rockford last week. Police are investigating the possibility that the two robberies are related.

Martin said the same woman was the victim of an assault and robbery in February 2011 outside the same tavern. In that case, an assailant approached her and put her in a chokehold as she prepared to open the door when she arrived at work, police said.

She was punched in the face and pushed to the ground. The attacker stole her purse.

DNA on a hat and gloves dropped by the assailant led authorities to later arrest Isaiah P. Wandler, 32, and charge him with first-degree robbery. Wandler was sentenced to 53 months in prison.