BELLEVUE, Wash. – Investigators say an off-duty nurse likely saved the life of a jewelry courier who was stabbed during a violent attack and robbery in Bellevue Thursday afternoon.
The brazen crime happened in the Kelsey Shopping Center while it was packed with people at that time of day.
Police say the victim had just hopped into his car after having lunch at the plaza; that’s when someone punched through his driver’s side window, pulled the courier out of his car and stabbed him before taking off with his jewels.
“There, fortunately, was a nurse that was a bystander that happened to be driving by just after this occurred, was able to apply a tourniquet and stop the bleeding, which may have saved the victim’s life,” said Bellevue police officer Seth Tyler.
The 911 call first came in as an assault at the shopping center at 148th Avenue and Main Street.
Investigators discovered the victim is a jewelry courier -- he moves precious metals and gems from one shop to another.
It’s not the first time jewelry couriers have been targeted in Puget Sound; Q13 News reported similar crimes dating back to 2013. But police so far said there is no connection to Thursday’s incident.
“What we’ve seen in the past is organized crime groups out of South America that are committing these types of crimes,” Tyler added.
The brazen nature of the crime startled others who work at the busy shopping center.
“It was really scary,” said Ron Lie. “A busy place like this, right in the middle of the daytime? I just can’t believe it.”
The courier was rushed to the hospital and is expected to survive.
The robber took off with an accomplice waiting in a car and police say they’re on the run.
Investigators said the attack could have been much worse.
“We’re fortunate that there weren’t any other injures and we are fortunate there were people that saw what happened and they are talking to us,” Tyler said.
Cops say they believe the victim was specifically targeted and do not believe there is an ongoing threat to the public.
Anyone who witnessed the crime is being asked to call the Bellevue Police Department.