Charges: For cigarettes, a man agreed to help rob a bank

An Everett man, 27, was charged in a January 2018 robbery involving a fake bomb near Martha Lake.

MARTHA LAKE — An Everett man told authorities he agreed to be the getaway driver for a bank robbery in a trade for a pack of cigarettes, according to court papers.

The man, 27, is now charged in Snohomish County Superior Court with first-degree robbery.

The heist took place in January 2018, at a Wells Fargo bank near Martha Lake. The driver was helping Russell Beeman, 58, who had lost his job as a crane operator after getting a cancer diagnosis, according to court papers. Beeman told law enforcement he needed money for medicine and to take care of his son.

Beeman had walked into the bank wearing all black, including a beanie, a mask and sunglasses. He handed a teller a note, then said, “This is a robbery, don’t be stupid.” He pulled up his sleeve, revealing a bomb-like device with a button.

The teller gave Beeman $1,850, as well as a separate stack of $20 bills banded together, which held a hidden GPS tracking device.

The two men drove off in a red pickup, but were stopped by Snohomish County sheriff’s deputies at an intersection nearby. Beeman admitted to the crime and said the bomb was a fake — it turned out to be a circuit tester wrapped in electrical tape. He said he texted the younger man to pick him up at the bank.

Beeman also said he and the other man took part in an earlier robbery, at a different Wells Fargo in Lynnwood. He stole nearly $7,000 and reported he gave about $2,000 to the driver.

In March 2018, a judge sentenced Beeman to 3½ years in prison for two counts of first-degree robbery.

The suspected driver has no other criminal history.

Zachariah Bryan: 425-339-3431; Twitter: @zachariahtb.

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