Crime

Alleged bank robber, 79, pleads not guilty to Bonney Lake holdup

The 79-year-old man came walking out of the credit union with a fake pistol tucked in his pocket.

He also had a bag of cash and a black ski mask.

Bonney Lake police were outside and arrested Gary Gookstetter in connection with the holdup at the Sound Credit Union Tuesday. He pleaded not guilty Wednesday to first-degree robbery. He was ordered held in lieu of $300,000 bail.

Gookstetter had no criminal record in Pierce County but prosecutors said he had contact with law enforcement three times since 2008. Details on those incidents were not available Thursday.

According to charging papers, Gookstetter entered the bank at 18320 state Route 410 about 2:30 p.m. and had a pistol in his waistband.

He gave a teller a sign for the window indicating the bank was closed and told them to lock the doors. He then allegedly demanded money and ordered the credit union’s employees into the bathroom.

He didn’t make it far.

A police officer happened to be 40 yards away when the call about the robbery came in and he greeted Gookstetter outside.

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