Store owner linked to stolen JBLM gear seeks lost business license

By ADAM ASHTON | The (Tacoma, Wash.) News Tribune | Published: January 6, 2014

The owner of a military surplus store near Joint Base Lewis-McChord is making his third attempt to regain a business license he lost last year after he bought night-vision gear stamped as government property from an undercover sheriff’s deputy.

So far, a city community development panel and a Pierce County Superior Court judge have declined to reinstate David Robinson’s business license. He’s seeking another hearing through the Washington Court of Appeals Division 2.

His attorney and the city declined to comment beyond confirming the case is moving forward in the appeals court.

The city of Lakewood, Wash., revoked Robinson’s business license for Historical Military Sales in April after he bought a military GPS device and night-vision equipment marked as government property from the deputy, according to court records.

Army and local law enforcement agencies targeted his store in a joint operation investigating missing military equipment from Lewis-McChord.

A former soldier arrested in January 2013 on suspicion of swiping gear in Army motor pools and then reselling it to military surplus stores led officers to Robinson’s store. The former soldier, Colton Adair Sanders, later pleaded guilty to possessing stolen property and was sentenced to 90 days in jail.

After obtaining a search warrant for Historical Military Sales in March, officers found seven receipts for gear Robinson bought from Sanders. The undercover deputy who sold the night-vision gear and GPS device to Robinson presented himself as a friend of Sanders in the sting.

Lakewood’s community development hearing examiner upheld the city’s decision to revoke Robinson’s business license, couching it as a regulatory action. In September, Robinson sued the city seeking another hearing in Superior Court. Judge Thomas Larkin dismissed the lawsuit Nov. 8.

In court filings, Robinson’s attorney, Jonathan Baner, argues the city’s decision was “arbitrary and capricious.” He wants an opportunity to argue that officers illegally seized evidence in Robinson’s store and did not present sufficient facts to justify revoking the store’s business license.


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