Gearhart restaurant owner Katie Smith, 87, stares down a barrel in morning raidGEARHART - Two Seaside residents are in the Clatsop County Jail today after a gunpoint robbery at Captain Morgan's Restaurant and Lounge Thursday.
James E. Powers, 43, of 810 S. Holladay Drive No. 25, Seaside, was arrested by Gearhart Police Chief Jeff Bowman at approximately 11:45 a.m. after entering the office of restaurant owner Katie Smith, 87.
A second suspect, Michelle A. Eggan, 32, of 2376 S. Downing Street, Seaside, was taken into custody later in the day after serving as an accomplice at the location during the time of the robbery. Both are charged with first-degree robbery.
Powers also had three warrants for his arrest for contempt of court from the Clatsop County Circuit Court. Other charges are pending against both suspects, Bowman said.
Bowman said Powers entered Smith's office in the restaurant at 4264 U.S. Highway 101 North as she was counting money. He reached across the desk into a drawer and took cash and receipts. He then fled in a white Nissan four-door vehicle southbound from Morgan's. A witness saw the suspect make a left turn from the highway on to Hillila Road in Gearhart.
Seaside dispatchers received the call from the restaurant at approximately 11:33 a.m. and immediately notified Bowman, who was eastbound on Pacific Way in Gearhart. He saw the suspect approaching westbound toward the highway. The suspect then made a left turn into a private drive in the 1500 block of Pacific Way. The suspect got out of the vehicle and was ordered to the ground at gunpoint. Four Seaside officers arrived and the suspect was taken into custody without incident. A Clatsop County Sheriff's Office deputy assisted.
"In my almost 21 years, this is the first true armed robbery we've had in Gearhart," Bowman said. "Katie is doing OK. It was the first time she's ever had a gun in her face, and she was upset. But I interviewed her yesterday night and she wasn't deathly afraid."
Police recovered $4,737 in cash and a Glock semi-automatic pistol from the front passenger seat of the suspect's vehicle.
Bowman thanks Seaside Dispatcher Laura Yokoyama for her quick work on the radio.
"She just did a fantastic text-book job in getting the suspect information out to us," he said. "That's the biggest thing, getting the accurate information out there to us. Things just went really well."
Bowman's next step is to continue to conduct interviews with a witness who was standing outside the restaurant during the robbery, a bartender and the restaurant manager.
Bowman cautions business owners to use common sense and safety when counting money.
"Because this is the first in 20 years, this is not the time to be building bomb shelters or putting up bulletproof windows," he said.
"But be aware of your surroundings and stay out of the view of the public. Vary your routine and don't count money in front of people. It's too tempting for people who don't have any money and may have a drug and alcohol problem."