Single fingerprint on robbery note leads to arrest

The holdup occurred at a U.S. Bank branch in Lynnwood in June.

LYNNWOOD — The robber passed the teller a note demanding cash and claiming he had a gun.

He left the bank that day in late June with a few thousand dollars.

He also allegedly left behind a fingerprint on the robbery note.

That bit of apparent sloppiness led to the arrest last week of a Lynnwood-area man, 22, for investigation of first-degree robbery.

The holdup occurred at a U.S. Bank branch in the 2800 block of 164th Street SW in Lynnwood. The incident was captured on video, and the suspect left behind a note.

Snohomish County sheriff’s detective Dave Bilyeu caught the case July 10. He submitted the note to the Washington State Patrol crime lab with a request that it be checked for fingerprints.

In early October, the lab reported that a print had been recovered and a match made, Bilyeu said in a probable cause statement filed Friday in Everett District Court.

He quickly learned a lot about the suspect, including where he lives, what he looked like and his history.

Based on his driver’s license photo, the man appeared to be a close match for the robber, the detective wrote. Meanwhile, his social media profiles made reference to Bosnia.

A Google search led to a story from 2014, when the suspect was a student at Nathan Hale High School in north Seattle. The student newspaper included a profile that talked about the man immigrating to the U.S. from Bosnia as a child.

That was a significant detail because witnesses said the robber spoke with a heavy “Russian” or Eastern European accident, the detective said.

When two witnesses were shown the Lynnwood man’s photograph in a montage lineup, however, neither selected him as the robber, the detective said in court papers. They picked people who were said to be a close match, though.

That “was not alarming” in light of the months since the holdup and the brief nature of the crime, and because the robber was wearing a hat and sunglasses at the time, Bilyeu wrote.

Other details, including the man’s accent, physical characteristics and fingerprint on the robbery note, added up to probable cause to arrest the suspect, the detective wrote. So far, no charges have been filed.

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

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