Home Seattle Press Releases 2009 John Doe Bandit Taken Into Federal Custody

John Doe Bandit Taken Into Federal Custody

FBI Seattle October 16, 2009
  • Public Affairs Specialist Ayn Dietrich-Williams (206) 622-0460

FBI Agents took custody of the so called “John Doe” bandit this morning at Pierce County Jail where he has been held since his arrest Thursday, October 8, 2009, following the robbery of the Bank of America at 101 S. Ninth Street in Tacoma. Michael John Fenter, 40, of Port Townsend, will make his initial appearance in U.S. District Court in Tacoma this afternoon at 2:30 p.m. on a criminal complaint charging him with bank robbery and being armed in the commission of a violent felony. Fenter is also being investigated in connection with other bank robberies in San Francisco, Sacramento and Seattle since early 2009. This includes the February 4, 2009 robbery of Washington Mutual Bank at 1401 5th Avenue in Seattle which resulted in building evacuations and street closures when the robber left a suspicious bag behind in the bank.

On Thursday, October 8, 2009 at 4:10 p.m., Fenter allegedly entered the Bank of America at 101 S. Ninth Street in Tacoma and approached the assistant manager saying that he represented a group of people who are angry with the government. He said he had a bomb and ordered an employee to fill a bag with money. Another employee noticed what was happening and called 911 alerting Tacoma Police Department of a robbery in progress. Officers surrounded the bank and arrested Fenter when he got outside. He had a loaded handgun in a holster on his right hip. The Tacoma bomb squad determined that the purported bomb was, in fact, an explosive device.

Fenter was booked into Pierce County Jail as John Doe when he refused to identify himself following his arrest. He claimed his name was Patrick Henry and had taken steps to cover his fingertips with a glue like substance. A clear set of prints was obtained from him but he was ultimately identified through other investigation.

Fenter will appear before Magistrate Judge J Richard Creatura in U.S. District Court in Tacoma at 2:30 p.m. today, Friday, October 16, 2009.