Suspect in Tacoma bank robberies strikes in Fircrest, police say

Staff writerAugust 15, 2013 

Surveillance photos of Tacoma bank robberies, clockwise starting top left: U.S. Bank 10:45 a.m. June 24 in the 800 block of South 38th Street, KeyBank 4:55 p.m. June 28 in the 3500 block of South 19th Street, Columbia Bank 11:10 a.m. July 29 in the 1900 block of South Union Avenue, Sterling Savings Bank 3:10 p.m. July 3 in the 4800 block of Tacoma Mall Boulevard, U.S. Bank 1:10 p.m. Monday in the 800 block of South 38th Street.

COURTESY PHOTO — Tacoma-Pierce County Crime Stoppers

Police said a man suspected of multiple bank robberies in Tacoma since June may have also robbed a Fircrest bank Thursday, and officers made an arrest in connection to the case.

They believe the same suspect robbed First Citizens Bank by handing tellers a note demanding cash just before 1:30 p.m. at 1902 64th Ave. W., Fircrest Police Chief John Cheesman said.

A witness caught the license plate number and gave police a description of the vehicle, which was stopped by a Tacoma officer about an hour later at South 19th and South Fife streets.

The driver initially fled, but then quickly pulled over and was taken into custody, the chief said.

The witness reported other people were in the car when it fled the bank, but only one man was inside the vehicle when it was pulled over, and Cheesman said that man was not the suspect who handed tellers the note.

“We don’t think he acted alone,” he said of the robber. “We think the vehicle was probably involved in several other robberies.

The other bank robberies police think the suspect is responsible for include:

• June 24 and Aug. 5 at the U.S. Bank in the 800 block of South 38th Street

• June 28 at the KeyBank in the 3500 block of South 19th Street

• July 3 at the Sterling Savings Bank in the 4800 block of Tacoma Mall Boulevard

• July 29 at the Columbia Bank in the 1900 block of South Union Avenue.

In many, including Thursday, the robber wore surgical-like gloves.

He’s described as a 5-foot-8 black man in his 20s with a thin build.

Anyone with information about the crimes is asked to call Tacoma-Pierce County Crime Stoppers at 253-591-5959. Tips are anonymous and can lead to a reward.

Alexis Krell: 253-597-8268

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