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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Police: Coffee stand robbers armed with fake gun

From staff reports
The two men facing charges after a pair of coffee stand robberies Tuesday afternoon cased several businesses and used a BB gun to commit the crimes, according to allegations made by investigators. Andrew Stepak, 24, and Nathan Lavasseur, 27, face charges of first-degree robbery and attempted first-degree robbery following two incidents - about 3 miles and 90 minutes apart - in north Spokane on Tuesday. The pair were stopped in a vehicle near the site of the second robbery attempt, which was unsuccessful when the barista identified the gun as a fake and hid inside the shop at Brews Bros Espresso, 28 E. Sinto Ave. A third passenger, 26-year-old Michael J. Rhodes, was booked into Spokane County Jail on a Department of Corrections warrant, police said Wednesday. Investigators found clothing in the trio’s car matching the description of the armed robber at both the Brews Bros location and Hot Toddy’s, 101 W. Francis Ave., which was held up shortly after noon. They also discovered a “realistic looking semi automatic handgun” in the car, which turned out to be a black BB gun, according to court documents. Levasseur told police he and Stepak looked for coffee stands to rob for gas money. Rhodes said the three bought oxycodone after the first robbery, which Stepak said was unsuccessful. But the barista there told police she’d handed over close to $100 in cash. The men then drove down Division Street, looking at several potential robbery targets but eventually settling on Brews Bros because there were no customers, according to court documents. The men were arrested just a few minutes after the second robbery was reported, according to police. Stepak has been jailed twice before on drug charges, according to court records. Levasseur has a lengthy record in Spokane district and municipal courts. The men are scheduled to appear in court later today.
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