BANK ROBBER PLEADS GUILTY IN CONNECTION WITH LAKEWOOD ROBBERY, CAR JACKING, AND ASSAULT ON FBI AGENT
Lakewood Man Leads Police on Highspeed Chase, Ramming FBI Car and Endangering Public
TEDDY L. HERSEL, 47, of Lakewood, Pierce County, Washington, pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court in Tacoma to Bank Robbery, Carjacking, and Assault on a Federal Officer. Both the prosecution and defense will recommend a sentence of 151 months in prison when HERSEL is sentenced on September 8, 2006 by U.S. District Judge Ronald B. Leighton.
According to the plea agreement filed in the case, on December 19, 2005 HERSEL walked into a U.S. Bank branch on Bridgeport Way in Lakewood and handed the teller a note saying “Give me your 100s, 50s, 20s, no dye packs, no devices.” The teller turned over the cash, but also included a special tracking device. HERSEL then went to a strip mall near the bank, broke the window of a minivan and pulled the female driver from the car. When the woman’s boyfriend reached in the broken driver’s side window, he grabbed HERSEL by the throat. HERSEL accelerated backwards, slamming into another car and throwing the boyfriend from the side of the car. The minivan was found abandoned a short time later.
An FBI agent responded to the area of the bank robbery with a monitor that tracks the device the teller had placed in the cash. As the agent drove on Bridgeport Way, the monitor indicated the transmitter passing him going the other way. The agent quickly turned and followed, and was able to determine that the tracking device was in a green pickup truck. When the truck stopped at a gas station the FBI agent ordered HERSEL out of the car. Instead HERSEL sped from the station. The FBI agent followed with his lights and siren going. HERSEL slammed on his brakes, and once the agent’s car had stopped, HERSEL threw his truck in reverse and rammed the FBI agent’s car. HERSEL then drove off again at speeds of more than 60 miles per hour through busy intersections, narrowly missing other cars.
About a mile away HERSEL’s truck hit a tree. Using the still active tracking device, police traced HERSEL to a nearby apartment complex where he was found hiding under a car in the parking lot. HERSEL still had the stolen cash, the tracking device and the robbery note on him.
The case was investigated by the FBI, Lakewood Police Department and Tacoma Police Department. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Gregory A. Gruber.
For additional information please contact Emily Langlie, Public Affairs Officer for the United States Attorney’s Office, at (206)553-4110.