Felon Arrested for Plotting to Blow Up Store and Gas Stations as Diversions for Bank Robberies
A recently released prison inmate was arrested yesterday for plotting to blow up a large store and gas station as part of his bank robbery scheme, announced U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan. Larry Gillette, 53, of Shelton, Washington, is charged with solicitation to commit a crime of violence and being a felon in possession of a firearm. Gillette allegedly began plotting the bombings and bank robberies while still serving a state prison sentence for identity theft. After being released from prison on April 14, 2014, Gillette described his plot in detail to someone he thought would assist him with his crimes. In fact, the person he met with was an undercover officer working for the FBI’s Safe Streets Task Force. Gillette will appear in U.S. District Court in Tacoma at 2:30 today.
According to the criminal complaint, law enforcement learned that Gillette told others in prison of his plan to rob banks in Shelton using bombs at various businesses as a diversion, during which he would commit violent takeover-style robberies. Following his release from prison, an undercover officer posed as someone who could assist Gillette in obtaining weapons and explosives for his plot. On two different occasions in April 2014, Gillette was recorded on audio and video describing his plot to the undercover officer as they drove around Shelton. As described in court documents, the plot involved powerful bombs at Walmart and Arco and Chevron gas stations. The plot allegedly anticipated that while first responders were busy with the bombings, Gillette would rob three banks. Gillette indicated he wanted the maximum loss of life to occur in the bombings and the bank robberies. At one point in the investigation, Gillette took possession of four Glock firearms. Gillette did not know the firearms had been modified so they would not fire. Gillette was arrested yesterday afternoon when he met again with the undercover officer and attempted to ignite a car bomb. The “bomb” was inoperable.
Solicitation to commit a crime of violence is punishable by up to 20 years of imprisonment. Being a felon in possession of a firearm is punishable by up to 10 years of imprisonment.
The charges contained in the complaint are only allegations. A person is presumed innocent unless and until he or she is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
The case is being investigated by the Seattle Safe Streets Task Force—which includes special agents from the FBI and task force officers from the Seattle Police Department (SPD)—and the SPD Major Crimes Task Force. SPD SWAT, the Mason County Sheriff’s Office, and Shelton Police Department, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) partnered with the task forces on the arrest and the serving of search warrants.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jeffrey A. Backhus.
Press contact for the U.S. Attorney’s Office is Emily Langlie, Public Affairs Officer at (206) 553-4110 or Emily.Langlie@usdoj.gov.