Accused armed robber arrested after failed river crossing

MOUNT VERNON, Wash. -- Mount Vernon police say they've nabbed a robber who's been {A href=""}terrorizing the town for more than a week.

At roughly 4:30 p.m., police received a 911 call about an armed theft. The victims said a knife-wielding man approached them in the 1600 block of Freeway Drive and demanded they hand over a bicycle.

They gave up the bike, but they immediately called 911 and began following the man from a distance, according to police.

Officers caught up with the thief just north of Lion's Park. When he saw the officers, police say the man -- identified only as a 38-year old from Anacortes -- jumped into the Skagit River in an attempt to get away.

The man soon learned just how cold the river water was and gave up his escape. Police arrested him when he returned to shore.

Police now say the same man is responsible for at least two other recent armed robberies, including the May 7 gunpoint hold-up of Annie Mae Antiques.

"To come in and rob their grandma - that's not right," Herman said. "I work for my money. What's a matter with people? Can't they work for their money? I get irritated with shoplifters but this really ticked me off," said owner Marlys Herman, who recently turned 80-years old.

Herman - who says she's run after shoplifters in her five years in business - did not chase after the robber on Tuesday afternoon.

Police believe the same man also used a knife to hold up the Skagit Valley Food Co-Op on May 9.

The man was booked into Skagit County Jail for Investigation of Robbery 1st Degree.