Lynnwood man facing cancer, job loss admits to robbing banks

Authorities say Russell Beeman, 57, lived a crime-free life before two Wells Fargo branches were hit.

LYNNWOOD — A Lynnwood man says illness and job loss led him to commit two bank robberies last month, according to court papers.

Russell Howard Beeman, 57, spent 30 years working as a crane operator and lived a “lifetime devoid of any criminal convictions,” deputy prosecutor Andrew Alsdorf wrote in documents filed in Snohomish County Superior Court.

He charged Beeman last week with two counts of first-degree robbery. The charges allege Beeman hit two Wells Fargo banks, one on Jan. 3 and the other Jan. 23.

In the last holdup, Beeman allegedly told a teller he had a bomb and demanded cash. The bank hid a GPS device in the loot. Deputies tracked down the getaway vehicle about a mile away on 164th Street SW, leading to Beeman’s arrest.

“He subsequently provided full confessions to both robberies to investigating detectives, explaining that he recently lost his job and had been diagnosed with cancer, so he needed the money to pay for medicine,” Alsdorf wrote. Beeman also said he was supporting his adult son.

The money taken in the second robbery was found in the pickup truck with Beeman. So was a fake bomb, which contained no explosives and turned out to be a circuit tester wrapped in electrical tape, court papers said.

Beeman was locked up in the county jail in Everett last week, his bail set at $100,000.

Scott North: 425-339-3431; Twitter: @snorthnews.

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