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November 5, 2013 at 11:08 AM
The Associated Press
BOISE, Idaho — A Las Vegas man targeted at least 21 ATM machines in western states as part of a crime spree involving the theft of $124,000 in cash and tens of thousands of dollars in damage to the equipment, a federal prosecutor said.
Clarence Edward Lancaster, 57, appeared in U.S. District Court in Boise on Monday and pleaded guilty to one count of bank larceny after authorities said he pried open an ATM on a college campus in Twin Falls.
As part of his deal with prosecutors, he acknowledged other ATM thefts from June 2012 through January 2013, in Idaho, Wyoming, Washington, Utah, Oregon and Arizona, U.S. Attorney Wendy Olson said in a press release following the plea.
The thefts involved some $124,000 in U.S. currency, $88,000 in damages caused to the machines, and $3,600 in property damage to buildings and equipment.
Lancaster was arrested in Arizona on Jan. 21 after a music instructor at Eastern Arizona College in Thatcher saw a man walking toward an area in a closed building where an ATM machine was located. The instructor, who was rehearsing with students in the building closed for the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, recorded the man’s license plate and turned it over to police. Lancaster was later stopped and arrested in his Cadillac Escalade.
October 31, 2013 at 3:12 PM
OK, it is Halloween, but this guy isn’t trick-or-treating. At least not in the normal sense.
The FBI has dubbed this bank robber the “Cyborg Bandit” for obvious reasons.
They say he has robbed at least four different banks in the past two months, most recently in Bothell on Oct. 23. He’s also hit banks in Woodinville, Shoreline and Bellevue.
He’s described as white, between 5-feet-9 and 6 feet tall, with a thin build. Despite the getup, there’s nothing bionic about him.
During the robberies, the FBI says he’s covered his face with a distinctive cloth and worn the hood of his sweatshirt over his head. He has also worn clear latex gloves.
Anyone with information on Cyborg is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477). Callers may remain anonymous and are eligible to receive a cash reward of up to $,1000, according to the FBI.
October 17, 2013 at 9:26 AM
The Associated Press
MEDFORD, Ore. — A couple who engaged in oral sex on a flight from Medford, Ore., to Las Vegas pleaded guilty Wednesday to disorderly conduct and each was fined $250.
The Mail Tribune reports Christopher Martin of Las Vegas and Jessica Stroble of Medford were not required to attend the hearing in federal court in Las Vegas and the pleas from their lawyers were accepted by Magistrate Judge George Foley.
An FBI affidavit says passengers saw Martin exposing himself and engaging in acts with Stroble despite warnings from flight attendants.
In a statement to the Medford paper, Martin apologized to those he hurt and offended.
October 8, 2013 at 1:22 PM
The Associated Press
BOISE, Idaho — An Idaho coroner says kidnapping suspect James Lee DiMaggio died after being hit by six gunshots fired by FBI agents during a rescue in the wilderness this summer.
Valley County Coroner Nathan Hess confirmed Tuesday that the multiple gunshot wounds to DiMaggio’s head, chest and extremities were the cause of death of the 40-year-old California man.
DiMaggio died Aug. 10 after his campsite was spotted in the vast Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness. He became the focus of a massive manhunt for allegedly abducting 16-year-old Hannah Anderson and killing her brother Ethan and her mother Christina at DiMaggio’s home about 65 miles east of San Diego. Hannah Anderson was rescued.
The final autopsy is pending a toxicology report. The death has also been classified as a homicide.
September 4, 2013 at 11:08 AM
Eight people were arrested this morning during a series of raids targeting heroin, methamphetamine and cocaine traffickers in seven cities across Western Washington, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
The search warrants were executed by federal law enforcement agents from the FBI, bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the U.S. Postal Service, as well as Seattle police, at alleged drug stash houses in Vancouver, Covington, Puyallup, SeaTac, Tukwila, Seattle and Tacoma, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
A search warrant was also served on a restaurant in the South Park neighborhood of Seattle, the Juan Colorado, where investigators allege drug traffickers conducted business, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.
The defendants will make their first appearance in U.S. District Court today at 2 p.m.
“The members of this drug trafficking conspiracy brought meth, cocaine and heroin to our communities preying on those with addictions to line their own pockets,” U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan said in a news release. “This lengthy investigation led to seizures of illegal weapons as well as street drugs. This strong law enforcement collaboration is essential to keeping our communities safe.”
The investigation into the alleged drug trafficking organization began in November 2011, according to court documents.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office said surveillance revealed the conspirators brought drugs into Washington from California and sold them at various locations ranging from auto wrecking yards in Auburn to restaurants at the Southcenter shopping mall and South Park.
“Mixing criminals, guns and drugs is a foul recipe for any neighborhood,” Interim Seattle Police Chief Jim Pugel said. “This organization spread its rotten ingredients throughout Puget Sound.”
The U.S. Attorney’s Office said those indicted on charges of drug distribution are Jose Ayala Mazoraquil, 39, of Tukwila; Alfonso Rojo Lopez, 26, and Joseph Edward Bell, 62, both of SeaTac; Pedro Velazquez Gomez, 27, and Benjamin Castro, 45, both of Seattle. Three additional suspects were arrested on criminal complaints.
August 13, 2013 at 9:32 AM
The 2006 deaths of a mother and daughter on the Pinnacle Lake Trail in Snohomish County are not likely among the murders committed by a prolific serial killer who committed suicide in an Alaska jail last year, according to the FBI.
FBI officials said the deaths of Mary Cooper and her daughter, Susanna Stodden on July 11, 2006 remain unsolved and local authorities are still asking the public’s help in solving them.
On Monday, the FBI released a timeline of activities of confessed serial killer and bank robber Israel Keyes, believed to have killed at least 11 people in several states. The FBI, investigating Keyes’ possible role in various unsolved killings, today issued a statement that it is “highly unlikely” he killed Cooper and Stodden.
The FBI documents say Keyes killed an unidentified couple in Washington state sometime between July 2001 and 2005.
Keyes also told investigators he committed two separate murders between 2005 and 2006, disposing of at least one of the bodies in Washington’s Crescent Lake, according to The Associated Press.
When he killed himself, the Keyes, 34, was awaiting a federal trial in the rape and strangulation murder of 18-year-old Samantha Koenig, who was abducted February 2012 from the Anchorage coffee stand where she worked.
Anyone with information on their deaths is asked to call the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office tip line at (425) 388-3845 or Crime Stoppers of Puget Sound toll-free at 800-CRIME13 (800-274-6313).
July 29, 2013 at 2:43 PM
The King County Sheriff’s Office and FBI have released a video of a serial bank robber nicknamed the “Elephant Man Bandit” who is linked to three July bank robberies in the Seattle area.
The video surveillance is from the most recent robbery in Shoreline July 17. In the video, the man is seen covering his head before he enters Whidbey Island Bank, walking to the counter and speaking with a teller, then leaving with some type of envelope.
The man, nicknamed for the material he wears over his head, is wanted in at least three bank robberies. The first occurred on July 5 at Whidbey Island Bank in Bothell and the second happened a week later at Banner Bank in Woodinville. Both robberies occurred around closing time. The Shoreline robbery occurred shortly before 3:30.
He is described as a white male in his late 40s or early 50s, 5-foot-10 or 6-feet tall, with graying hair and scarring on his face. Surveillance photos show him wearing black slacks, black dress shoes and a long-sleeved collared shirt in blue or white. He implies to victims he has a gun and flees in a car.
He should be considered armed and dangerous. Anyone with information is asked to call the King County Sheriff’s Office, 206-296-3311 or Crime Stoppers, 1-800-222-TIPS (8477). Callers to Crime Stoppers may remain anonymous and are eligible to receive a cash reward of up to $1,000 if the information leads to an arrest and charge of the person involved.
July 22, 2013 at 3:38 PM
Federal task-force agents have arrested two men in connection with a series of bank robberies carried out by two men who wore a variety of different large hats to hide their features from surveillance cameras.
The Seattle Safe Streets Task Force said its agents arrested the two men, including one man wanted for armed robberies in Texas, while serving a warrant Monday morning.
The two suspect, nicknamed the “Big Top Bandits” for their attire, are suspected in at least four takeover-style robberies of banks in King County.
In all of the robberies, the bandits enter the bank with handguns and threaten customers and tellers. In a May robberies, one of the men fired a shot during the holdup. In another, last June in Burien, one of the men struck a teller in the face, according to the FBI.
July 22, 2013 at 8:55 AM
The FBI is seeking information about a serial bank robber nicknamed the “Elephant Man Bandit” who is linked to three July bank robberies in the Seattle area.
The man is nicknamed for the material he wears over his head, covering his head with a shirt or other material with two small eye holes. He implies to victims he has a gun and flees the scene in a car.
He is wanted in at least three bank robberies. The first occurred on July 5 at Whidbey Island Bank in Bothell and the second happened a week later at Banner Bank in Woodinville. Both robberies occurred around closing time. The most recent robbery was at Whidbey Island Bank in Shoreline shortly before 3:30 p.m. July 17.
The robber is described as a white male in his late 40s or early 50s, 5-foot-10 or 6-feet tall, with graying hair and scar texture on his face. Surveillance photos show him wearing black slacks, black dress shoes and a long-sleeved collared shirt in blue or white.
He is considered armed and dangerous, according to the Seattle Safe Streets Task Force. Anyone with information about him is advised not to approach the suspect, but to immediately call the FBI at 206-622-0460 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477). Callers to Crime Stoppers may remain anonymous and are eligible to receive a cash reward of up to $1,000 for information that leads to an arrest and charge of the person involved.
February 21, 2013 at 10:26 AM
A federal grand jury has indicted a Hawaii man for allegedly calling the Honolulu FBI office last month to report a hijacker may be aboard a Kona-to-Seattle flight.
The Jan. 17 call turned out to be a hoax, but it prompted military jets to scramble and escort the Alaska Airlines flight in to Seattle. Authorities took one man off the plane and he cooperated with authorities. He was not arrested.
Timothy Hershman, 58, of Kona, was indicted on one count of providing false information, which carries a penalty of up to five years in prison, according to the FBI.
After the call was made to the FBI, two F-15 jets from the Oregon Air National Guard escorted Flight 819 in to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, where FBI agents, Port of Seattle police and Transportation Security Administration personnel were waiting. The officers boarded the jet through rear stairs and removed the man from the plane, airline spokesman Paul McElroy said.
The passenger had been seated at the back of the aircraft and “slept most of the flight,” he added.
The flight crew was aware of the threat but reported no unusual behavior, McElroy said.
Passengers deplaned normally after the man was removed. Seattle-Tacoma International Airport spokesman Perry Cooper said airport K-9 dogs then checked the plane but found nothing amiss.
About The Today File
The Today File is a general news blog featuring real-time coverage of Seattle and the Northwest. It is reported by the news staff of The Seattle Times and edited by Assistant Metro Editor Nick Provenza.
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