Crime

Suspect in Yelm hotel robbery and assault held in Thurston County Jail

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A man who police believe robbed the front desk of a Yelm hotel at gunpoint last week was arrested Friday and charged with first-degree robbery and second-degree assault.

Bronszen K. Rathbone, 20, was picked up by police in Yelm Friday after authorities say he pointed a gun at a hotel employee and demanded cash.

According to a probable cause affidavit, police were called to the Prairie Park Hotel in Yelm just before 2 a.m. Thursday. An employee there said she was working the night shift at the front desk, when a man knocked on the window and said he needed a room. The man’s face was obscured by a “Covid style mask,” she said.

The hotel employee let him inside the building and asked for his identification. Instead, the man pulled a gun and pointed it at her head, she said. He demanded all the money she had, court documents read. The employee pulled out a cash till from the hotel register and set it on the counter. The man took it and left. Police found the register in a trash can outside.

As police were still on the scene, a Thurston County deputy contacted dispatch saying he found a person matching the suspect’s description near the Yelm Skate Park. The suspect took off running and escaped as multiple officers converged on the area.

A nearby business caught the robbery with surveillance cameras. A vehicle was seen taking the suspect to the hotel. Police were able to identify two other people in the car, because the same vehicle had been pulled over in a traffic stop that night.

A detective contacted the vehicle’s driver. The driver said he met the suspect at a casino in Tacoma. They were strangers, he said. The suspect offered him cash for a car ride to Yelm. The driver agreed and dropped him off at the hotel.

The Yelm Police Department took to Facebook Friday and announced a suspect had been arrested, with help from “great cooperation from surrounding agencies to make this happen.” Arrest records indicate Rathbone was picked up Friday afternoon in the 200 block of Mckenzie Avenue Southeast.

Rathbone is being held in the Thurston County Jail.

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