Lights & Sirens

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‘John Doe’ charged in bank robbery, bomb scare downtown

Post by Stacey Mulick / The News Tribune on Oct. 12, 2009 at 9:52 am |
October 12, 2009 9:52 am

Pierce County prosecutors have charged a 39-year-old man in connection with last week’s bank robbery and bomb scare in downtown Tacoma.

However, investigators are still trying to positively identify the man. So far, he’s not given authorities his real name.

On Friday, prosecutors charged “John J. Doe” with first-degree robbery, three counts of first-degree assault and threatening to bomb or injure property. He was being held in lieu of $10 million bail. He also has a FBI hold on him.

Charging documents also indicate he’s a suspect in several other recent bank robberies along the West Coast. Those heists were carried out in a similar style.

Doe was charged with robbing the Bank of America, 101 S. Ninth St., about 3:15 p.m. Thursday. Police were told the man demanded money and claimed to have a bomb. He showed an employee a box that he said was a bomb, court documents state. The employee saw what appeared to be an explosive device.

Doe demanded the employee fill a sack with money. The employee got cash out of a vault and fulfilled the demand.

Meanwhile, several citizens inside the bank called 911 to report the robbery. Police officers got in position outside the bank and watched Doe leave the building.

Officers arrested Doe at gunpoint across the street from the bank. They found the bank’s cash and a loaded handgun stuffed in Doe’s waistband, court documents state.

Officers found a car believed to be associated with Doe. They saw stacks of cash and at least two other loaded guns – including an assault-style rifle – inside the vehicle, court documents state.

Police determined the device Doe carried had a blasting cap.

“Doe also was in possession of what appeared to be a radio device, giving the appearance that Doe might be able to detonate the explosive remotely,” charging documents state.

The bomb squad was called in and several downtown streets were cordoned off. The bomb squad inspected the device and determined it wasn’t dangerous.

Charging documents indicate Doe was trying to disguise his appearance by wearing eyeglasses, a ball cap and fake facial hair. He’d also coated his fingertips in super glue.

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