A 30-year-old Bothell man believed to be the Tour De Banks robber was arrested Friday near his home, according to King County Sheriff's Office officials.
The man, who police believe hit banks three times in Woodinville, is suspected in a total of nine armed bank robberies in the area, King County Sheriff Steve Strachan said.
The man was dubbed the “Tour de Banks” robber because he fled the bank robberies on a bicycle.
At a media briefing Friday afternoon, Strachan said the suspect had been increasingly aggressive with tellers and increasingly violent with his threats.
"These are very violent, violating crimes," he said, adding that the man had begun threatening to kill people during the armed robberies.
The arrest was the result of an extensive collaborative effort between the King County Sheriff’s Office (including Woodinville police), the F.B.I. Safe Streets Task Force and detectives from Bothell, Monroe, Arlington, and Mill Creek Police Departments.
Detectives said they watched the man’s house early this morning and arrested him as he drove from his home in the 20300 block of 124 Ave NE around 8 a.m.
"I've been told he (the suspect) was extremely surprised," Strachan said.
After the arrest detectives served search warrants on the man’s Bothell home, his vehicle, and an adult family home he owns in the 21100 block of 46 Ave SE in Snohomish County.
"He was seemingly living a normal life," Strachan said.
The man's vehicle was the key to his arrest, police say, because when it was positively identified, it led to more information and ultimately, the arrest. Police believe the man would drive to a location, park the car, pull out his bicycle and then ride to banks he robbed.
"Then he'd ride back, take the front wheel off (his bike) and put it in the car," Strachan said.
Bothell Police Chief Carol Cummings said the case was cracked through strong partnerships between local law enforcement agencies and the FBI.
"Everyone worked so closely together to connect the dots," she said.
The string of bank robberies first began in Bothell in January:
- January 30, 2012—Key Bank, Bothell, Washington
- May 2, 2012—Key Bank, Woodinville, Washington
- June 26, 2012—Union Bank, Woodinville, Washington
- July 5, 2012—Key Bank, Bothell, Washington
- July 6, 2012—Bank of America, Woodinville, Washington
- July 23, 2012—U.S. Bank, Bothell, Washington
- July 30, 2012—Washington Federal, Monroe, Washington
- Sept. 8, 2012—Key Bank, Arlington
- Sept. 12, 2012—Whidbey Island Bank, Mill Creek
The suspect will be lodged at the King County Jail downtown pending criminal charges.