A 35-year-old Shelton man accused of stealing about $60,000 in a string of Puget Sound bank and pizza restaurant robberies has been arrested after a months-long investigation.
Olympia police caught Eric M. Collier on Tuesday as he allegedly tried to rob a west Olympia bank. He was booked into the Thurston County Jail on seven counts of first-degree robbery while armed with a deadly weapon and two counts of first-degree attempted robbery.
Deputy Prosecutor Mark Thompson said the nine counts of robbery and attempted robbery cover crimes committed in Thurston County. Other charges may be filed in other counties.
In most of the robberies, Collier showed a handgun, wore a mask and had a hooded sweatshirt pulled over his head, prosecutors said. In one, police said he fired his gun during a struggle with a Pizza Time employee in Olympia.
The crime spree began Sept. 20 when Collier is suspected of robbing a west Olympia Taco Bell and a Bank of America, police said. Since then, 14 similar robberies were reported at places throughout the Puget Sound including Olympia, Lacey, Puyallup, Tacoma, Spanawayand Kent.
Thompson said that in all his years as a deputy prosecutor, he’s never seen a defendant face so many robbery charges. At a Thurston County Superior Court hearing Wednesday, he asked Judge Anne Hirsch to set bail at $2 million.
“Just the sheer number, I’ve never seen a defendant come into the court with this many robberies,” Thompson said.
Hirsch agreed that Collier posed a significant threat to the safety of the community and set bail at $1 million.