Two held in 19 Pierce County bank robberies

August 26, 2013 

Tacoma police have arrested two men suspected in 19 bank robberies in Pierce County.

One is considered a person of interest in nine robberies and four attempted robberies in Tacoma, Fircrest and University Place since June. Police spokeswoman Loretta Cool said the man was arrested on an unrelated warrant and detectives served a search warrant at a Hilltop-area home he’s known to frequent.

She declined to discuss specifics of the case, citing the ongoing investigation.

Deputy prosecutor Patrick Cooper said the suspected bank robber could be charged this week.

A man believed to be the getaway driver has already been charged with first-degree robbery for a July 29 holdup of a Columbia Bank branch in Tacoma.

Levaughn McVea, 25, pleaded not guilty during his arraignment Friday. Prosecutors said he was possibly involved in other robberies and could face more charges.

McVea told police he was paid $1,000 to be the getaway driver and walked detectives through the crime, including the route he drove to get away and where evidence was discarded, according to court records.

Nobody was injured in the bank robberies and a weapon did not appear to be used.

In most of the holdups, the robber passed a teller a note claiming he had a gun and demanding cash. In the July 29 robbery, the man – who wore surgical gloves – took the note to at least three tellers and collected money at each window.

Pierce County Superior Court Judge Jerry Costello ordered McVea jailed in lieu of $150,000 bail.

Court records show McVea has been convicted of residential burglary, second-degree assault, possessing stolen property and unlawful delivery of a controlled substance.

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