Orca fare card leads Lynnwood police to bank-robbery suspect

The suspect in the robbery of the Chase Bank on Highway 99 in Lynnwood on April 11, as seen on security video. (Lynnwood Police Department)

The suspect in the robbery of the Chase Bank on Highway 99 in Lynnwood on April 11, as seen on security video. (Lynnwood Police Department)

LYNNWOOD — Surveillance video and a Lynnwood police detective’s hunt for a man who added money to an Orca transit card led to the arrest Saturday of a suspected bank robber.

The suspect, 39, is believed to have twice robbed the same Chase Bank branch in the 17500 block of Highway 99.

The first robbery was Feb. 3, the second April 11. Although surveillance video documented the holdups and captured clear images of the bearded, glasses-wearing robber, the man left no other obvious clues to his identity.

A break in the case came Wednesday when Lynnwood detective William Koonce reviewed security footage from a nearby QFC grocery store, according to a police report filed to establish probable cause for the suspect’s arrest.

Video recorded just minutes before the April 11 holdup documented a man placing $5 on his Sound Transit Orca card. The man appeared to be the bank robber.

The detective worked with Sound Transit to identify the number for the card that was used. He then obtained court approval for searches of the card history and the credit card that was used in the April 11 transaction.

That led to a name: Daniel William Blake.

Blake appeared to be a close physical match for the robber, police wrote.

Detectives learned where the man likely was living and arrested him outside the home.

The Orca card and credit cards identified during the investigation allegedly were in Blake’s wallet when he was tracked down.

After being read his rights, Blake allegedly admitted robbing the bank. He said his marriage of a dozen years was ending and he found himself “under tremendous financial stress.”

The man reportedly supplied details about the robberies, including where he discarded clothing worn during one of the holdups. That information matched what detectives knew.

Blake appeared in Everett District Court on Monday, where his bail was set at $50,000. No charges have been filed.

The man reportedly provided recorded and written statements admitting responsibility for the Lynnwood robberies. He “was polite, honest and respectful during my entire contact with him,” Koonce wrote.

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

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