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Amaryllis robbed at gunpoint Tuesday


October 21, 2020

Location. Location. Location.

That is the familiar mantra deemed a key to valuable real estate.

But prime location can be the scene of unintended consequences.

Such was the case late last Tuesday afternoon when an armed robber stole an undisclosed amount of money and fled on foot from the Amaryllis women’s clothing boutique in the historic Hotel Planter Building on First Street.

“He probably picked me,” store owner and local artist Charlotte Decker told the Weekly News afterward, “because I’m at the end of the street.”

The incident led to an immediate police lockdown of La Conner, said Mayor Ramon Hayes, himself a First Street business owner.

Skagit County Sheriff’s deputies and Swinomish Tribal Police officers sought a male suspect wearing black sweatpants, black sweatshirt, black knit cap and red bandana. Their search came up empty despite deploying a K-9 unit and positioning patrol vehicles at all town entrances.

“The suspect was not known to the store owner and he has not been located at this time,” Skagit County Undersheriff Chad Clark said on Thursday.

Decker, in fact, did not initially recognize whether the suspect who demanded money from her was male or female.

After she twice refused to give him money, Decker said the suspect then brandished a handgun.

Decker somehow managed to remain calm as she handed over the contents of her cash box.

“I never really felt threatened,” she said, “even when he pulled the gun because I couldn’t be sure at first if it was a toy gun or a real gun.”

Once the suspect fled, Decker called police.

“The police were here almost before I got off the phone to 9-1-1,” she said.

“Between Swinomish Police and the Sheriff’s Office,” added Hayes, “the town was locked down immediately. The response was excellent.”

Hayes, though, said the downtown robbery lends further credence to establishing a citizens’ patrol here for times officers are on duty elsewhere.

“We need it,” he said. “It would be controlled and administered by the Skagit County Sheriff’s Office and provide more eyes and ears on the ground.”

As for Decker, she is grateful for the overwhelming support received in the days following the robbery.

“I just want to say that the community has been so supportive,” she said.

One fellow La Conner merchant, for instance, delivered flowers to Amaryllis soon after learning of the incident.

The store has remained open as usual, though Decker concedes the robbery has had an impact.

“I’m a little more discerning,” she said, “when people come in.”


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