Robbery suspects nearly collide with train while fleeing Auburn police

Suspects making their getaway from the scene of an armed robbery in Auburn narrowly missed smashing into an oncoming train as they jumped the tracks ahead of pursuing police near the Outlet Collection Mall in the mid-afternoon of Feb. 9.

And when police later found one of the men hiding in a tree in an apartment complex parking lot in Pacific, negotiators needed two hours to coax him out of the foliage and down to the ground.

No one was hurt, according to Kolby Crossley, public information officer for the Auburn Police Department.

“The passenger of the vehicle has been charged, but the driver is still outstanding,” Crossley said.

On Feb. 14, the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office charged Adam Louis Haskins, 30, with one count of first-degree robbery. According to court papers, the Tacoma resident displayed a gun to threaten an employee who had followed him out to the store’s parking lot.

At Haskins’ first court appearance, King County prosecutors requested bail in the amount of $100,000 and a judge agreed. He remains in custody. His arraignment is slated for 9 a.m. Feb. 27 in the general courtroom at the Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent.

Video posted on the APD’s Facebook Page shows the moment of the near miss:

Here’s how the drama unfolded, according to charging papers and the Auburn Police Department.

At about 3:15 p.m., an employee of Coastal Farm and Supply on 15th Street Southwest informed 911 about what had happened, and Valley Com dispatched police to the store.

According to court papers, Haskins and an unknown female accomplice had first aroused the suspicions of store employees with behavior that indicated the two were intending to shoplift. And when Haskins bolted through an emergency exit into the parking lot with a bag full of stolen merchandise, he allegedly turned to a pursuing employee, displayed a gun and said, “You don’t want to do this, man.”

According to court papers, while the first officer was responding, the employee kept updating 911, describing the suspect and notifying dispatch that the alleged robbery suspect had run west across the street and climbed into a silver Cadillac sedan. When the officer got there, the sedan took off at a high rate of speed on North Outlet Collection Way behind the Outlet Collection and ultimately onto 15th Street Southwest.

According to court papers, at that time, two officers who were in the area westbound on 15th Street Southwest noticed a southbound train approaching at 15th Street and Perimeter Drive Southwest. As the railroad crossing arms were dropping to stop traffic, the officers had to stop, but the sedan kept going at a fast clip and jumped the tracks while the crossing arms were fully extended. The Cadillac destroyed the crossing arms in the process and barely missed colliding with the train.

According to court papers, the pursuit continued, as the driver of the Cadillac kept moving at a high rate of speed, at times reaching 120 mph. Officers pursued the vehicle into the city of Pacific and found it in an apartment complex parking lot. Police soon learned that another suspect had run from the vehicle, but Haskins had hidden himself in a tree.

While negotiators were speaking with Haskins, who was 25 feet high up in the tree, according to court papers, they observed him smoking what they believed to be illegal drugs. After almost two hours, Haskins finally climbed down and officers took him into custody without incident.

According to the account, Haskins later told detectives that the initial motive for the robbery was to sell the stolen goods for money that could be used to buy illegal drugs.

According to court papers, Haskins has the following felony convictions: third-degree theft, and residential burglary in 2009; second-degree robbery and three counts of third-degree theft in 2010; third-degree assault in 2010; and a pending case for first-degree theft in Pierce County, 2021.

The APD defended its high-speed pursuit of the fleeing vehicle, a tactic that has recently come under criticism.

“Vehicle pursuits are a valuable tactic for law enforcement to provide professional services to the community,” the APD wrote in an afterword to the account. “The suspect’s lack of concern to his own safety and the safety of the public in this incident highlights the need for law enforcement to intervene in the vehicle pursuit. We are thankful that the suspect in this case decided to peacefully surrender at the conclusion of the event and not a single person was hurt.”

Anyone with information about the missing driver, whose image, according to Auburn Police, appears in a photograph released to the media, should call the APD’s tip line at 253-288-7403.