U.S. Attorney's Office
Western District of Washington
(206) 553-7970
May 8, 2015

Repeat Bank Robber Who Recruited and Trained Juveniles for Robberies Sentenced to 10 Years in Prison

A 31-year-old King County man was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to ten years in prison for his involvement in more than a dozen bank robberies across the state, announced U.S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes. ROBERT CAL ADAMS, III, 31, was dubbed the “Rabid Fan Bandit” by the FBI because of the various hats with sports logos he wore in a string of bank robberies. The investigation revealed ADAMS’ involvement in a second string of bank robberies dubbed the “Buddy Bandit” bank robberies where juveniles were recruited, trained and sent in to rob tellers using notes almost identical to the one ADAMS used when solo. At sentencing U.S. District Judge John C. Coughenour stated that this sentence is imposed “with a heavy emphasis on the defendant’s decision to involve juveniles” in criminal activity.

“This defendant not only terrorized tellers across our state, he recruited and trained teen-agers to continue his crime spree,” said U.S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes. “His willingness to draw young people into these bank robberies makes this a particularly despicable crime”

ADAMS pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit bank robbery and ten individual counts of bank robbery. According to records filed in the case ADAMS robbed the following banks by handing a teller a threatening note demanding various amounts of cash: Chase Bank on Auburn Way in Auburn, Washington on March 3, 2014; Banner Bank on East Mission Street in Spokane, Washington on March 10, 2014; Chase Bank on 272nd Street in Covington, Washington on March 13, 2014; Chase Bank on 108th SE in Renton, Washington on March 19, 2014; Wells Fargo Bank on Gravelly Lake Dr. SW in Tacoma, Washington on March 24, 2014, and Chase Bank on S. 19th Street in Tacoma on March 31, 2014.

After the March 2014 bank robberies, ADAMS recruited others to his scheme and is convicted in connection with four other bank robberies where juveniles went into the banks with notes demanding money and threatening harm to the tellers. These robberies include the April 1, 2014 robbery of Chase Bank on Pacific Avenue in Tacoma; the April 7, 2014 robbery of U.S. Bank on 176th St., Puyallup, Washington; the April 9, 2014 robberies of Alaska Federal Credit Union branches in Renton and Kent, Washington; the April 9, 2014 robbery of U.S. Bank on Pacific Highway in Des Moines, Washington; the April 10, 2014 robbery of Wells Fargo on 72nd Street East, Tacoma; the April 11, 2014 robbery of BECU on Pacific Highway South, Kent, and the April 11, 2014 robbery of Bank of America on SW 336th St., Federal Way, Washington.

Finally, ADAMS teamed up with co-defendant Vincent G. Thompson to rob Chase Bank, on Canyon Road East in Puyallup on April 14, 2014. The final robbery in the spree was on April 21, 2014. Following the robbery of U.S. Bank on Pacific Highway South in Des Moines, investigators were able to locate ADAMS at a nearby motel and arrest him.

“Bank robbers who commit their crimes across multiple jurisdictions might never face justice if not for the coordination of partners,” said Special Agent in Charge Frank Montoya, Jr., of the FBI’s Seattle Division. “The FBI’s Seattle Safe Streets Task Force and its partners throughout the state shared information at every step of this investigation, which allowed us to determine connections between bank robberies and identify everyone involved.”

The case was investigated by the FBI’s Seattle Safe Streets Task Force with assistance from multiple local police departments and the Washington State Department of Corrections.

The case was prosecuted by Special Assistant United States Attorney Stephen Hobbs. Mr. Hobbs is a Senior Deputy King County prosecutor specially designated to prosecute cases in federal court.

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