Crime

FBI investigating after ATMs were blown up outside banks in Tacoma, Lacey, Spanaway

Photos: FBI investigating blown up ATM outside Tacoma bank

Photos of the scene where an ATM was blown up in the drive-thru lane of a Tacoma bank early Tuesday, and the FBI is helping Tacoma police investigate. Search dogs were brought in to look for suspects.
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Photos of the scene where an ATM was blown up in the drive-thru lane of a Tacoma bank early Tuesday, and the FBI is helping Tacoma police investigate. Search dogs were brought in to look for suspects.

Investigators have arrested a suspect in several ATM explosions in the South Sound — the most recent of which happened Tuesday morning in Tacoma.

The 38-year-old man was apprehended by a police dog following a brief high-speed chase and was expected to be booked into Thurston County Jail following treatment at a local hospital.

Investigators said they noticed similarities between attacks on ATMs in Tacoma, Lacey, Spanaway and Lakewood.

A press release from the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department gave this account:

The first explosion happened shortly before 6 a.m. March 31 at the America’s Credit Union near 170th Street and Pacific Avenue South in Spanaway.

Sheriff’s deputies arrived and found an ATM there destroyed.

Surveillance video showed masked suspects messing with the ATM right before it exploded.

Then April 3 Tacoma police responded to a Chase Bank ATM on fire about 2:15 a.m. in the 6600 block of Sixth Avenue. Surveillance video showed a masked suspect tried unsuccessfully to use a device to get cash from the machine just before the fire.

The next day there was a similar explosion at a Columbia Bank ATM in Lacey.

A masked suspect also tried to use a device to get cash from a Columbia Bank ATM Monday in Lakewood. There weren’t any explosions or fires in that case.

Finally, neighbors near South 54th Street and Pacific Avenue in Tacoma heard an explosion about 3:30 a.m. Tuesday and called 911.

Officers arrived to find a badly damaged ATM in the drive-thru lane of a Wells Fargo branch.

Search dogs were brought in to look for suspects, but none were found.

Because of the explosion, the FBI was brought in to assist with the investigation.

Shortly after the incident, Lacey police tried to stop a suspicious vehicle, but the driver took off and headed south on Interstate 5.

The pursuit reached speeds of 100 mph, Thurston County sheriff’s Lt. Tim Rudloff said.

The suspect exited at 93rd Avenue Southwest, and Tumwater police joined the pursuit.

Eventually, the man got out of his car and fled, leading law enforcement officers through a deep swamp.

A K-9 was able to stop the man by biting him.

The suspect was taken to Providence St. Peter Hospital in Olympia for treatment.

Staff writer Alexis Krell contributed to this report.
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