Officials seek "buddy bandits" suspected of robbing multiple area banks

Staff writerApril 10, 2014 

Federal and local law enforcement is trying to identify men they call the “buddy bandits,” who robbed banks this month around the Puget Sound in pairs.

The Pierce County Sheriff’s Department and Tacoma police, along with other agencies and a Seattle task force that includes the Federal Bureau of Investigation, are investigating the robberies.

The FBI said Thursday it believes two robbers held up three banks in one hour Wednesday in Renton, Kent and Des Moines. Investigators are looking into whether the men are connected to two other bank robberies that happened in Tacoma and Frederickson this month.

A pair of men went up to tellers just after 3 p.m. Monday at the U.S. Bank branch at 5616 176th St. E. (inside a Safeway grocery store) in Frederickson, and each handed over a note demanding cash and threatening that they were armed, according to Tacoma-Pierce County Crime Stoppers.

The men, in their early 20s, took the money and left, detectives said.

One robber is described as white, 5 foot 10, and 180 pounds. He was wearing a blue, white and black plaid shirt, and a University of Kentucky baseball hat. There was a large tattoo on his right hand.

The other man is described as black, 5 foot 9, 150 pounds, with black hair in a short afro. He was wearing a long-sleeved gray Nike shirt and camouflage shorts.

The Tacoma robbery investigators think may be related happened about 6:30 p.m. April 1 at the Chase Bank at South 72nd Street and Pacific Avenue South. Only one robber was involved in that instance. He was described as black, about 5 foot 6, slender, wearing a dark gray t-shirt with a tiger on the front and a brown knit beanie cap. He had hair in short braids or dreadlocks.

The Wednesday King County robberies officials say may be connected happened 4 p.m. at the Alaska Federal Credit Union at 200 S. 3rd St. in Renton, 4:15 p.m. at the Alaska Federal Credit Union at 10201 SE 240th St. in Kent, and 5 p.m. at the U.S. Bank at 21401 Pacific Hwy S. in Des Moines. In each of those robberies, the FBI said one man approached the counter with a note, while another stood back. The pairs in those robberies are all described as black, in their 20s or late teens, between 5 foot 8 and 6 foot. 

The FBI said the robbers are considered armed and dangerous, and that the public should call law enforcement instead of approaching them.

Anyone with information is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS(8477).

Tips are anonymous and can lead to a reward.

alexis.krell@thenewstribune.com

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