Authorities are investigating whether a 38-year-old man arrested in connection to an ATM explosion in Tacoma on Tuesday is responsible for three similar incidents.
The man is suspected of destroying a drive-up ATM around 3:30 a.m. Tuesday in the 5400 block of Pacific Avenue of Tacoma, according to a statement from the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department. Police responded after hearing an explosion and found the damaged machine surrounded by debris and cash, the statement said.
Detectives had identified a possible suspect’s car from the scene of a previous ATM explosion and circulated the information to other law-enforcement agencies in the region. A Lacey police sergeant spotted the car leaving Interstate 5 in Lacey on Tuesday after “the appropriate drive time from the Tacoma crime,” according to a statement from Thurston County Sheriff’s Office.
After a police pursuit by Lacey and Tumwater officers, the suspect got out of his car near 113th Avenue Southeast and Patsy Drive Southeast and ran off, the statement said.
Thurston County sheriff’s deputies then tracked the suspect with K-9s through a swamp before finding the man in a nearby horse pasture. He was bitten by a K-9 before being arrested, the statement said.
The man will be booked into Thurston County Jail after receiving medical treatment, police said.
The FBI and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are assisting local law-enforcement agencies to determine whether the suspect is also responsible for four other incidents involving ATMs in Pierce and Thurston counties, according to Tacoma police.
The other early-morning incidents occurred in Spanaway, Tacoma, Lacey and Lakewood between March 31 and April 8, according to the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department. Machines were blown up in Spanaway and Lacey, while a Tacoma ATM was set on fire. A masked suspect was seen trying to use a device to access cash at a Lakewood ATM.
At the Spanaway explosion, detectives noticed a suspicious car parked near the bank, according to the sheriff’s office. Detectives obtained surveillance video that showed a man walking from the car to the bank and returning after deputies had left, according to the statement.
Pierce County Sheriff’s spokesman Ed Troyer said deputies are searching for additional suspects.