Federal agents have uncovered a felon’s underground bunker above Lake Sammamish. The FBI and ATF are now looking for at least two more constructed by Bradley Robinett, who was a fugitive for five years.
Federal agents hiked into the foothills of Sammamish Tuesday morning and uncovered the first of at least three survival bunkers built by a bank robber who eluded capture for more than five years.
The cramped, 8- by 10-foot underground bunker was dug by Bradley Robinett, 45, an ex-Marine, survivalist and prolific car thief. It was uncovered by agents from the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives following an investigation stemming from Robinett’s arrest last year..
FBI spokeswoman Ayn Dietrich-Williams said Robinett has identified at least two other bunkers he constructed during his years as a fugitive. The bunker in Sammamish contained “between 15 and 20” large, sealed bins agents were methodically searching.
Dietrich-Williams declined to say what they’d found until the inventory was complete.
Most Read Stories
- Wave goodbye: Live Seafair hydroplane-race TV coverage sputters out after 66 years VIEW
- Alex Tizon, former Seattle Times reporter who won Pulitzer Prize, dies at 57
- Judge: Married Lake Stevens cop’s misconduct didn’t violate girlfriend’s civil rights
- Cameron Dollar rejoins Washington on Mike Hopkins' staff
- Sports on TV & radio: Local listings for Seattle games and events
Robinett was first convicted of bank robbery in 2004 and was sentenced to seven years in federal prison. He was released in August 2009 from a prison in Arizona to serve the remainder of his sentence at a halfway house in Seattle. He never showed up, and a warrant was issued for his arrest.
Later that year, police officers spotted him and pursued him at high speeds on Bainbridge Island. He got away; officers later found a Glock handgun and a ballistic vest — both stolen earlier from Seattle police — in the stolen car he was driving.
Then, in November 2009, two Washington State Patrol detectives encountered Robinett in a stolen car at a park and ride in Bellevue. The State Patrol say Robinett attempted to ram their car and then fled.
Last June, police in Hillsboro, Ore., were cruising a Fred Meyer parking lot using an automated license-plate reader and located a stolen car. Robinett was arrested when he got in it.
In January, Robinett pleaded guilty to federal charges of escape, being a felon in possession of a firearm and interstate transportation of a stolen vehicle. His attorneys and prosecutors have agreed to a sentence of between 12 and 14 years.
Sentencing is sent for May 4 before U.S. District Judge James Robart.
The bunker Robinett built had shelves containing bottles, and an old, overturned cot. There were plastic bags on the floor. Rotting timbers and mold indicated it may have been some time since anyone had been there.
In addition to his earlier bank-robbery conviction, Robinett has prior state felony convictions for possession of stolen property, unlawful possession of a machine gun, car theft and burglary.
Dietrich-Williams said the bunker’s disclosure hopefully will raise awareness of the existence of such bunkers or hidden caches. The FBI believes there are others in Washington state belonging to other criminals.
She pointed out the FBI still believes that Alaska serial killer Israel Keyes is believed to have buried at least three victims in Washington, along with possible caches of supplies and “murder kits” used in carrying out his crimes.