Three of the "buddy bandits" bank robbers in custody

Staff writerApril 18, 2014 

Robert Adams.

Pierce County prosecutors have charged three of the so-called “buddy bandits” accused of robbing nine banks in Washington.

A 15-year-old boy was booked into Remann Hall Juvenile Detention Center Friday and is set to appear in court Monday. The teen has not yet been charged.

Vincent Thompson, 31, of Federal Way, is the only defendant who has pleaded not guilty to the first-degree robbery charge. His bail was set at $1 million.

A warrant has been issued for Robert Adams, 31. Jeffrey Black Jr., 27, is being held in King County to answer to charges of failing to register as a sex offender. He will then be brought to Pierce County to face the robbery count.

Federal and local law enforcement have been hunting the alleged robbers for at least a month. They earned the moniker “buddy bandits” because they held up banks in pairs.

The men are accused of robbing six banks in Pierce County, two in King County and one in Spokane.

Prosecutors said more charges will be filed later. For now, the group has only been charged with an April 7 holdup at a U.S. Bank branch inside a Safeway store in Frederickson.

In that incident, a pair of men went up to the tellers and handed over notes demanding cash and warning that they were armed.

Black’s note allegedly stated “This isn’t a joke. I have a gun,” according to charging papers. The teenager’s note allegedly urged the teller not to be a hero.

Adams wrote the notes prior to the robbery and Thompson was waiting with him outside, court records indicate.

Prosecutors said the group split the proceeds depending on the role they played during each bank robbery.

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