Panther Lake Trail robbery victims grapple with lingering worries

Couple was held at knifepoint in broad daylight.

A kidney transplant prompted a Federal Way couple to go on walks frequently, but following a mid-afternoon robbery, the couple doesn’t even want to go outside anymore.

In plain daylight at 3:45 p.m. April 11 at Panther Lake Trail, 550 SW Campus Drive, “Aida” and “Jose” were robbed at knifepoint. Aida said the trail was somewhere they frequented for walks to stay active, especially since her kidney transplant. The Mirror is withholding the couple’s confirmed real names due to their concerns for safety.

Aida said it was a regular day when she and Jose went for an afternoon stroll at Panther Lake Trail while they waited for their daughter to get out of volleyball practice. Aida said they walked down to the pond, where there were more trees.

When they started walking back to their truck, out of nowhere, the robber appeared out of the woods. Aida and her husband Jose primarily speak Spanish, so when the robber appeared, he said something to Aida, which she said sounded like he was asking for the time. But after not answering, she said the man pulled out a knife.

“It happened so quickly, but because I have a kidney transplant, I got behind my husband, and then the robber and my husband started hand fighting, and he scratched his hand with the knife. He also ripped his shirt a bit,” Aida said. “More than anything, it was the scare. It is what it is. The material can go away, but the scare was heavy. It was quick but scary because you never know what can happen.”

During the robbery, the suspect only got away with Jose’s gold chain, which the case report stated was worth about $300. Aida said the robber also attempted to steal her chain, but when she moved back, it got stuck on her jacket. Aida said they usually bring their daughter on walks with them, but now, looking back, she’s glad her daughter was at volleyball because the situation could have been worse.

No suspect has been identified in the robbery. The suspect was described as a Black male in his 20s wearing a dark hoodie and dark pants.

Aida said they still haven’t returned to Panther Lake Trail, and she doesn’t think they will. Right now, the couple doesn’t really want to go anywhere. Aida said Jose has become depressed since the incident, and she has since made a doctor’s appointment for her husband.

Aida said they haven’t really gone out since the robbery. She said they just go to work and come back home, and when Jose leaves for work in the mornings, she watches through the window until he leaves. She said it’s dark when Jose leaves for work, and it scares him, so she does what she can to comfort him.

Aida said in the past, her husband’s truck has been broken into, but they’ve never experienced a robbery like this. Most recently, on April 20, Aida said her husband’s gas tank on his truck got drilled into, and one of his tires was punctured.

“We just got out of this, and then something else happens. We’ve been trying not to go out, but it’s getting nice out, and I told my husband we have to find a safer park for our daughter’s well-being,” Aida said.