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Vancouver police track armed robbery suspect through stolen phones

After a masked man robbed a T-Mobile store in east Vancouver Thursday night, police used the stolen electronics to locate him.

Bilal Joiner, 29, was arrested on suspicion of first-degree robbery, two counts of first-degree assault, two counts of first-degree kidnapping and unlawful possession of a firearm, according to the Vancouver Police Department.

Police responded around 7:50 p.m. for a reported robbery at 3205 S.E. 192nd Ave., a T-Mobile outlet store on the edge of the Fisher’s Landing East neighborhood.

Officers interviewed witnesses and obtained video surveillance footage that showed an armed, masked man had entered the store. He threatened employees with a handgun and directed them into a back room, where a storage safe was opened, police said.

The robber stole several Apple iPhones and watches, then fled south.

According to a probable cause affidavit, Joiner ran off with a duffle bag full of $5,760 worth of electronics. The employee who filled the bag also included an iPhone X package with a tracking device.

A security company with access to the tracking device connected to it and led police to a house in the 4100 block of Southeast 187th Place, located in a neighborhood southwest of the T-Mobile store, according to the affidavit.

“As police moved in to set up containment, a vehicle left the target residence, giving off an active tracking signal and was stopped a short distance away,” according to a police news release.

“The tracking company confirmed that the tracker stopped moving when the traffic stop was initiated,” the affidavit says.

Joiner was arrested. Officers searched the vehicle and recovered the stolen Apple products, a loaded firearm and clothing suspected of being worn during the robbery, the news release said.

Clark County Superior Court Judge Bernard Veljacic set Joiner’s bail at $50,000 during a first appearance Friday. He will be arraigned Nov. 1.


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