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

Beauty shop robbery suspect had once been sentenced to life in prison without parole

A man accused of robbing two beauty supply stores last November and tying up store employees had earlier been given a fourth chance to live a crime-free life.

Vance G. Bartley, 50, has nine convictions tied to robberies; in 1998, a judge sent him to prison for life without the possibility of parole. But 10 years later, in 2008, his three-strikes sentence was amended on a technicality Bartley discovered while reviewing his case. He was freed.

He spent years after his release working as a paralegal and advocated overturning the three-strikes law, according to a story published by Al-Jazeera America in 2013. That same year, police in Western Washington suspected him in a takeover-style robbery of a fast-food restaurant. He was never arrested, and the case has not been solved.

Bartley is accused of entering Sally’s Beauty Supply at 15735 E. Broadway Ave. on Nov. 6, grabbing the clerk and threatening to kill her for money. He tied her hands behind her back with a phone cord he had brought with him, according to court documents.

Six days later he robbed Sally’s Beauty Supply at 2401 W. Wellesley Ave., court documents say. There, the robber threatened to kill the two clerks working and tied them up using a phone cord.

Witnesses in both cases described the robber as well dressed. In the second robbery, police say, the robber wore a suit.

Bartley’s cellphone pinged off a tower near the Spokane Valley store at the time of that robbery, according to court documents. When detectives searched Bartley’s apartment they found several phone cords even though there was no landline in the apartment, according to court documents.

He is charged with two counts of first-degree robbery, three counts of first-degree kidnapping and three counts of harassment with threats to kill. Bartley remains in Spokane County Jail on a $100,000 bond.