Prosecutors say an Oregon man's solution to his marital and financial problems was to became a one-man mini crime spree on Saturday when he allegedly taped a phony pipe bomb to his body, held up a Seattle bank, carjacked a ride, fled in a stolen SUV and then got stuck in a parking lot and...
King County prosecutors say an Oregon man’s solution to marital and financial problems was to launch a one-man crime spree on Saturday, when he allegedly taped a phony pipe bomb to his body, held up a bank, carjacked a ride and led police on a chase that ended with he rolled a stolen SUV.
Jeffrey A. Trask, 30, was charged Thursday in King County Superior Court with first-degree robbery, unlawful imprisonment and eluding police. He is being held in King County Jail in lieu of $750,000 bail; arraignment is scheduled for Dec. 26.
According to the charges, Trask walked into a Wells Fargo Bank branch in North Seattle on Saturday morning with what appeared to be an “improvised explosive device” strapped to his body.
Trask opened his jacket to show the teller the device and said that he was wired with explosives and was being watched by someone, implying he was being forced to rob the bank, prosecutors wrote in charging papers. In his hand was what he claimed was a transmitter for the explosives, according to the charges.
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The teller gave Trask more than $9,000 but refused his demand for $120,000, prosecutors wrote.
Trask then asked bank customers for their car keys but they refused, according to the charges.
Trask left the bank and walked across the parking lot to a drive-up coffee stand, where he tried unsuccessfully to get inside a customer’s locked car, prosecutors said.
He then walked up to the car at the drive-up window, got into the customer’s car and told the man to drive, prosecutors allege.
As the baristas sounded the alarm, Trask allegedly directed the carjacked driver to an SUV in a parking lot in the 14300 block of Midvale Avenue North. Charges say that Trask told the driver that he had been compelled to commit the crimes by people who had kidnapped his family and were listening to him.
The driver called police after Trask climbed into the SUV using keys, prosecutors said.
A deputy with the King County Sheriff’s Office heard a radio broadcast with the description of the robbery suspect’s vehicle and then saw a silver SUV with what appeared to be a partially obscured license plate, according to the charges. The deputy tried to pull the SUV over, but the driver sped away, prosecutors allege.
The chase ended about five minutes later when Trask drove into a dead-end parking lot near the Edmonds ferry terminal, caught his tire on a curb and rolled the vehicle, according to prosecutors.
The officers backed away from Trask when they saw the “pipe bomb-type device” strapped to his waist and what appeared to be a remote control in his hand, the charges said. But Trask was arrested when he removed the items.
The Seattle Police Department’s Arson and Bomb Squad was called and officers determined the bomb was phony, assembled to look like a pipe bomb with attached wires. The “remote control” was a walkie-talkie-style radio, according to charging papers.
The carjacked driver positively identified Trask, and Seattle police found the hat, cap and money from the bank robbery among his belongings, prosecutors said.
Prosecutors said Trask told police he had recently lost his job and was having marital and financial problems. He allegedly said he had stolen the SUV in Oregon on Friday and had driven to Seattle because he “needed money.”
“I found myself in a bad situation and was trying to make it better,” he told police, according to the charges.
Christine Clarridge: 206-464-8983 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Seattle Times news researcher Miyoko Wolf contributed to this report.