Lynnwood man’s dye-ing for a clean car

By SUSANNA RAY

Herald Writer

What’s black and gray and red all over?

An unfortunate Lynnwood man’s car, after it was stolen from him at gunpoint last week, used in a bank robbery and then abandoned with splashes of an exploded dye pack serving as a spooky – and possibly permanent – reminder of the crime.

The 22-year-old man, who asked not to be identified because the robber hasn’t been caught yet, said a man wearing a Richard Nixon mask and waving a handgun confronted him and a friend as they left his apartment at about 2:30 a.m. July 3. The thief made them throw him the car keys and then lie on the ground with their hands on the backs of their heads before he took off in the black 1993 Honda Civic.

Late that afternoon, the Honda was used as the getaway car for a man in a clown mask who robbed a Washington Mutual Bank branch in Everett, firing a couple of shots into the ceiling and escaping with an undisclosed amount of money.

Police later found the abandoned car about two blocks away, with the mask, gun and some of the red-stained money left inside.

The Lynnwood man said he’s thankful he got his car back – he doesn’t have theft insurance – but he gets an eerie feeling when he drives it now.

The dye pack that had been tucked in with the stolen money apparently exploded on the passenger seat, leaving a red-outlined imprint of what looks like a gun trigger and possibly a fist, the man said. Red spray covers the passenger-side door, as well.

"It’s so strong at one spot that it’s thick and crusty," the man said. "I can’t even clean it because they say there’s tear gas in it."

You can’t clean dye, anyway, said Nancy Measor with Auto Detailers in Everett. The only way to deal with it is to re-dye the red areas or replace the carpets and door panel and get a slipcover for the seat, she said.

The man said his liability insurance won’t cover the cleanup. Police told him the bank should help him get the car back to normal, he said, but bank representatives told him it’s his or the robber’s responsibility.

He also called a victims’ rights group, which offered counseling but no help for material problems.

When told of the situation Monday afternoon, Washington Mutual spokeswoman Sheri Pollock put in a call to the dye-pack manufacturer to see what could be done, but she declined to discuss the case further for security reasons.

The bank robber was described by witnesses as a white man about 30 years old, 5 feet 11 inches tall, and weighing about 180 to 200 pounds with a medium build. In addition to the clown mask, he wore a white wig, a black sweater, black baggy pants and white surgical gloves.

Police ask anyone with information to call the Everett Police Department tip line at 425-257-8450.

Call Herald Writer Susanna Ray at 425-339-3439 or send e-mail to

ray@heraldnet.com.

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