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June 19, 2012 at 2:50 PM

Kitsap Co. man busted after robbing same bank 3 times

A Kitsap County man could be destined for a 15-year stretch in prison for a series of robberies, including three at the same bank in Mason County.

Michael Wandke, 48, of Seabeck, pleaded guilty last week to federal charges of armed bank robbery and bank robbery for holding up four banks, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Under the terms of his plea agreement, the defense and prosecution will each recommend a 15-year prison term to run concurrent with Wandke’s state sentence for a series of espresso stand robberies when he is sentenced on Sept. 7.

Wandke used a phony bomb to rob the Bank of America branch in Kingston of more than $4,300 on Dec. 21, 2009, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a news release. The feds say parts used to make the fake bomb, including a dog-training collar, were ultimately traced to materials found at Wandke’s home.

On Feb. 1, 2010, Wandke walked into the Allyn branch of Kitsap Bank, displayed a handgun in his waistband and demanded money, according to the news release.  The teller gave Wandke just over $10,000 and a little surprise: An exploding dye pack.

As Wandke fled, witnesses saw a telltale red mist coming from the spot where he was holding the cash. 

Not easily dissuaded, Wandke returned to the same bank three weeks later, but this time ordered the teller to hold the dye packs. Nonetheless, he forced the branch manager to accompany him when he left the bank with about $62,000 while he checked the loot for dye packs, according to the news release. 

Once satisfied there were no dye packs in the money, he allowed the woman to return to the bank.

After the two robberies Kitsap Bank put in new security measures and required customers to be buzzed in through the front doors.  But on June 29, 2010, Wandke forced open the front door and robbed the bank a third time, scoring more than $16,000, the news release said.

The law finally caught up with Wandke on Sept. 28 of that year after he robbed an espresso stand in Bremerton. A witness saw Wandke running from the stand, and noted the license plate number of the truck he was driving. Police stopped the truck a short time later and arrested Wandke, according to the news release.

A search of his home turned up items tying him to the series of bank robberies, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

Comments | More in The Blotter | Topics: armed robbery, Bank robbery, Kitsap County

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