Kitsap County Bank Robber Sentenced to Seven Years in Prison Robber’s Identity Confirmed using DNA from Sunglasses Left Near Robbery
|U.S. Attorney’s Office November 09, 2009|
ERIC M. HAWKINS, 40, a former resident of Bremerton, Washington, was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Tacoma to seven years in prison, five years of supervised release and $11,846 in restitution for Armed Bank Robbery. HAWKINS had been incarcerated in Texas on drug charges when authorities linked him to the April 20, 2006 robbery of a Key Bank branch in Bremerton. At sentencing U.S. District Judge Benjamin H. Settle said, “It cannot be understated the terror that can be imposed upon someone who is having a regular day at work and is confronted with a gun and believes that this may be the last moment of their lives.”
In April 2009, HAWKINS admitted in federal court that on the morning of April 20, 2006, he was armed with a handgun and wearing sunglasses and a hooded sweatshirt, when he entered the Key Bank branch on Wheaton Way in Bremerton. HAWKINS stole $11,846 from a teller at gunpoint. According to records in the case, the teller included a dye pack in the stack of bills she gave the defendant. A short distance from the bank, law enforcement officers found the sweatshirt stained with the dye pack, and the pair of sunglasses. These items were retained as evidence.
A few weeks after the robbery, dye stained currency was circulating in the community. Officers were able to trace a man using the name “Gerald Lewis” to a purchase at a video game store using the stained money. In early December, authorities in Texas contacted Bremerton authorities asking them to locate ERIC M. HAWKINS who was believed to be in the Bremerton area using the name “Gerald Lewis.” HAWKINS was located, arrested and returned to Texas to serve a prison sentence until 2013, for possession of cocaine with intent to distribute. Following that arrest, DNA testing of the sunglasses found near the bank robbery scene, linked HAWKINS to the 2006 bank robbery.
Writing to the court, Assistant United States Attorney Nicholas Brown noted that HAWKINS has seven previous felony convictions involving the possession and distribution of serious illegal drugs, burglary, or weapons offenses. “Three individual employees were also threatened at gun point by the defendant, who ordered each to either lay on the floor or empty all the money from their teller drawers. This is a harrowing experience that cannot be underestimated,” Mr. Brown wrote to the court.
The case was investigated by the Bremerton Police Department and the FBI.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Nicholas Brown.
For additional information please contact Emily Langlie, Public Affairs Officer for the United States Attorney’s Office, at (206) 553-4110 or Emily.Langlie@USDOJ.Gov.