Tip leads to arrest in Lake Stevens bank robbery

EVERETT — For more than eight months, the Lake Stevens bank robbery went unsolved.

On Tuesday, the day before Christmas and the day after his 47th birthday, an Auburn man was arrested at his condominium in connection with the heist.

The break in the case came when someone recognized the suspect from a Crime Stoppers bulletin, according to court records.

The tipster called police and said he was certain that the man in the Whidbey Island Bank branch surveillance photos was a relative. He contacted the Auburn Police Department, which developed information to obtain a search warrant. It also brought in Lake Stevens police, which had been investigating the case.

In the man’s closet, police found a black hooded sweatshirt that resembles clothing used in the April 26 bank robbery.

On the day of the holdup, a bank teller told Lake Stevens police that she had asked the man who was wearing sunglasses to remove the hood of his sweatshirt and he refused. The teller said he put his hand in his pocket. The move led her to believe he might be armed with a weapon. He told her to empty the cash register.

After he was arrested the suspect allegedly admitted to the robbery.

He told police he started to go into a Safeway nearby as “he was trying to talk himself out of robbing the bank,” court papers said.

The suspect then said he “stood at the door and couldn’t believe what he was going to do,” court papers said.

He has no previous criminal history.

The man told police he remembered telling the bank teller to put the money from her drawer on the counter. He also thanked her.

The suspect allegedly said he committed the robbery because he was facing financial hardship. He said he owed money to the IRS, which was garnishing his paychecks and leaving him with no money. He said he spent most of the loot — between $1,500 and $2,000 — to pay bills. He also reported giving a couple hundred dollars to a friend.

The suspect denied committing any other bank robberies.

Eric Stevick: 425-339-3446, stevick@heraldnet.com

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