Rite-Aid ‘robber’ facing charges

A 23-year-old South Kitsap man was still in Kitsap County Jail under a no-bail hold this week after at least three attempts to rob local businesses, the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office reported.

Justin D. Altstatt was charged with both first-degree and second-degree robbery this month after he allegedly tried to rob the Rite-Aid drug store on Bethel Road twice, and the nearby Wendy’s fast-food restaurant once with a juvenile male accomplice.

According to the incident reports, the most recent robbery attempt occurred Jan. 14, around 6:40 p.m., when store employees and other witnesses reported that Altstatt came up to an employee behind a cash register at the drug store and requested change for a dollar.

The employee told deputies that when he opened the till to get coins, however, another man — later identified as the juvenile suspect — “charged” at him.

The victim told deputies that he grabbed the suspect and placed him in a “headlock,” and soon after both suspects exited the store with no money.

When deputies responded to the area, they tracked, then located both suspects — one in a trailer and one walking nearby.

They also learned that both suspects had apparently attempted to rob the Wendy’s restaurant just south of the drug store on Bethel Road, when the younger suspect informed then of that incident.

Deputies then talked to employees at the Wendy’s, who said that a white male with a ball cap and scarf over his face came up to the counter and said “put the money in the bag” while pushing a paper bag towards her.

However, the teen-aged cashier did not understand what he wanted and thought he was attempting to order food.

She said she called her manager over to help him.

When asked why she thought the suspect was simply ordering food when he had his face hidden and was acting so nervous, she said that she thought he was trying to keep his face warm and that she “sees weird people come in all the time.”

When the manager came over to help him, the suspect again reportedly asked for money and pushed the bag toward her. The manager said she thought he was trying to rob them but wasn’t sure, and said the suspect then apparently got frustrated and left the store.

When asked why they didn’t call 911, the employees said it was because they thought the suspect was playing a joke on them.

Altstatt was then booked into Kitsap County Jail for both robbery first-degree and second-degree and held under $100,000. The bail was later reduced to $50,000, however according to court documents he is currently serving time under a no-bail hold for failure to appear.

The suspects are also believed responsible for another robbery attempt at the Rite Aid that occurred on Jan. 9. During that incident a female employee at the drug store reported that a man approached her cash register and demanded money.

She told deputies that the suspect gave her a piece of paper that read, “Put the money in the bag.” Along with the paper, she said he handed her a bag and pointed at it.

She told deputies that at first she did not think he was serious, but then he pulled out a knife and waved it at her. At that point she said she announced over the store intercom that a person in the store had a knife, and after that she said the suspect ran out of the store.

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