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Bank robber busted - FBI studies links to other robberies
Thanks to the actions of a brave bank teller, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and local police have caught the man they believe was responsible for three bank robberies in the past month.
As of Wednesday afternoon, that man, Francisco Cardona, 28, of Kirkland, had been booked on investigation of robbery, and was being held at the King County Jail in downtown Seattle.
Cardona was caught after he allegedly robbed the Sammamish branch of the Bank of America on Monday, at 12.55 p.m. According to Sammamish Police, Cardona has confessed to the Sammamish robbery.
He is also being questioned about the robberies of the Issaquah branch of WaMu on Wednesday last week, and the US Bank branch in Juanita on Feb. 12.
According to witnesses at the Sammamish bank, the man pointed a semi-automatic pistol at the teller before leaving with a sum of money. Witnesses also said he appeared calm during the robbery.
Another teller followed the man outside the bank and took note of the getaway vehicle, which had “vanity” plates. As a result of this information, police were able to pick up a man matching the description of the robber at his home early on Tuesday morning.
The owner of the vehicle was not involved in the robbery.
On Tuesday, Sammamish Police Chief Brad Thompson presented the bank teller with the Chief’s Coin on Excellence, a token of the police’s appreciation for his assistance.
Sammamish Police Sergeant Robert Baxter said that although they do not encourage members of the public to get involved in dangerous situations like this, the teller’s ability to provide the license plate details was the key to resolving the case.
“We certainly don’t think it’s a good idea for people to go chasing after bank robbers, particularly not ones with semi-automatic pistols,” he said.
“But, the fact that he was able to get the plate was really the piece of information that enabled us to catch the guy.”
The Federal Bureau of Investigations, who have been investigating the case, are referring to the man as the “Buck-toothed Bandit”, based on security camera footage from the robberies.
FBI spokesperson Robbie Burroughs said this week they strongly suspected Francisco was involved in all three robberies.
"The physical characteristics were the same, the M.O. was the same," she said.
"I think that little spree that's happened on the Eastside is probably over for now."