Thanks to the likes of "Attila the Bun," "Nomad" and "Garden Glove," Seattle had more bank robberies last year than every U.S. city but three. With...

Share story

Thanks to the likes of “Attila the Bun,” “Nomad” and “Garden Glove,” Seattle had more bank robberies last year than every U.S. city but three.

With 74 bank robberies in 2006, Seattle ranked fourth in the nation behind only Los Angeles (357), Boston (343) and Philadelphia (292), said FBI spokeswoman Robbie Burroughs.

Statewide, FBI agents and police responded to 272 bank robberies last year, compared with 221 in 2005, Burroughs said.

Washington has historically had among the highest number of bank robberies. The state recorded 357 robberies in 1998, an all-time high. However, the numbers have declined in recent years.

FBI officials say they’re seeing many bank robberies being committed by people who were recently released from prison for earlier robberies.

“We were expecting a record year based on the fact we were seeing so many repeat offenders coming out of prison,” said FBI Special Agent Larry Carr. “The story most of them tell is, ‘I tried to make it, I couldn’t make it and the only thing I could fall back on was bank robbery.’ “

Carr blames the high number of bank robberies on the level of homelessness, especially in Seattle. Of all of the robberies investigated last year, Carr said he can’t think of any suspect who had a permanent address.

“If they’re not homeless, they’re transient. They’re living in a hotel room based upon the proceeds of their bank robbery,” said Carr, who is part of a team of agents who come up with nicknames for the state’s most prolific robbers.

For example, “Attila the Bun” received her nickname because she wore her hair in a bun while robbing banks. The “Nomad” bandit got his nickname because he robbed banks all over the state. “Garden Glove” earned his nickname because he would wear gardening gloves during some of the robberies. Of the three, only “Garden Glove” is still at large.

About 71 percent of the bank robberies in 2006 occurred in three counties: King, Snohomish and Pierce.

In King County, 132 banks were robbed with a combined loss of more than $300,000.

In Snohomish County, 26 banks were robbed and more than $107,000 was stolen. In Pierce County, 36 banks were robbed and more than $170,000 was stolen.

Bank of America branches were robbed 44 times last year, the most of any bank. Burroughs said Bank of America was targeted the most because of its number of branches.

According to the FBI, 93 percent of the robberies were carried out by men. The average loss in each robbery was $3,622.

During the course of the 272 robberies, four assaults occurred. A weapon was involved in 36 of the robberies. In five of the cases, robbers entered the vault.

Jennifer Sullivan: 206-464-8294 or jensullivan@seattletimes.com

The state’s 2006 bank robberies

A county and city breakdown:
By county
No. County Loss
132 King $304,950
36 Pierce $170,932
26 Snohomish $107,328
22 Clark $67,535
13 Cowlitz $76,620
10 Spokane $60,257
9 Thurston $11,822
7 Kitsap $102,392
4 Skagit $19,402
4 Benton $18,251
3 Mason $11,706
2 Clallam $19,300
1 Pacific $12,581
1 Grays Harbor $12,250
1 Yakima $3,716
1 Jefferson $3,088
By city
No. City Loss
74 Seattle $148,307
23 Tacoma $113,297
21 Vancouver $65,535
11 Kent $22,056
10 Spokane $60,257
8 Everett $35,694
8 Federal Way $33,589
7 Redmond $21,411
7 Renton $17,800
5 Bellevue $16,794
5 Shoreline $5,574
4 Lynnwood $18,954
4 Kirkland $10,720
4 Olympia $8,607
4 Auburn $8,329
4 Lacey $3,215
2 Tukwila $12,094
Note: Not all cities are listed.
By bank
The top five:
No. Bank Loss
44 Bank of America $163,785
37 Key Bank $110,873
34 Washington Mutual $159,918
25 US Bank $43,545
20 Wells Fargo $74,772
Bank robberies per year
Bank robberies in the state since 1996:
Year No.
2006 272
2005 221
2004 253
2003 259
2002 293
2001 309
2000 319
1999 334
1998 357
1997 328
1996 286
Source: FBI