Warrant issued for Tacoma transient charged with two bank robberies

Staff writerMarch 19, 2014 

A warrant has been issued for a Tacoma transient accused of robbing two Pierce County banks and stealing cash from a Denny’s restaurant. Pierce County prosecutors on Tuesday charged Joseph Smith, 49, with two counts of first-degree robbery and one count each of first-degree attempted robbery and third-degree theft.

The holdups were featured on Tacoma-Pierce County CrimeStoppers’ website and a tipster passed Smith’s name to a sheriff’s detective after seeing surveillance photographs from the crimes.

Smith allegedly held up a Key Bank branch in the 13800 block of Pacific Avenue Dec. 5, passing a teller a note demanding money and saying that “The real sorry begins if I suspect anything.”

On New Year’s Eve, prosecutors contend he was at a Denny’s restaurant in the 10800 block of Pacific Avenue when he asked a cashier for change so he could buy a newspaper. When she opened the till, Smith allegedly grabbed cash and ran.

The most recent robbery was of a Twin Star Credit Union in the 13500 block of Pacific Avenue Feb. 10. Detectives said Smith handed a teller a note asking for cash and put the money in a purse before fleeing.

Smith is a transient in the Tacoma area, according to CrimeStoppers. He is white, 5-feet-11 and 170 pounds, with brown hair and brown eyes. He wears prescription eyeglasses and often wears a bandana on his head.

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