Crime

He robbed three banks so he could buy drugs and help out his ex-wife, records say

If you witness a crime, here’s what to do

Witnessing a crime and reporting it can be just as frightening as being the victim of a crime. Here’s what you should do if you witness illegal activity.
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Witnessing a crime and reporting it can be just as frightening as being the victim of a crime. Here’s what you should do if you witness illegal activity.

A Lakewood man is accused of robbing three banks so far this year and attempting to rob a fourth.

The 36-year-old was arrested in Kent after police identified him through surveillance video.

He pleaded not guilty Monday in Pierce County Superior Court to two counts of first-degree robbery and one count of attempted first-degree robbery.

Bail was set at $1 million.

The man is expected to be charged in King County Superior Court with a Seattle bank robbery.

Pierce County prosecutors also said they intend to charge him with the theft of a ring from a Puyallup store.

Charging papers give this account:

The first bank he tried to rob was a Wells Fargo branch in a Tacoma grocery store on Jan. 2.

When he approached a teller, he whispered that he wanted money and the bank teller hit an alarm.

The would-be robber fled.

Later that day, he walked into a different Wells Fargo branch in Tacoma and gave the teller a note demanding cash.

He also is suspected of robbing a Seattle bank Jan. 3 and a U.S. Bank branch in University Place on Jan. 4.

In the University Place holdup, the man allegedly threatened the teller by saying he had a gun and holding his hand in his sweatshirt pocket.

Police said the suspected robber had methamphetamine and cash on him when he was taken into custody, and a BB gun was found in his vehicle.

The man initially claimed the cash was from dealing drugs but eventually admitted to robbing the banks because he “needed money to buy drugs and to help his ex-wife pay bills,” records show.

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