News and Press Releases

FORT LEWIS SOLDIER SENTENCED TO NEARLY 12 YEARS IN PRISON FOR ARMED BANK ROBBERY
Soldier Robbed Same Bank Twice

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 7, 2007

CHRISTOPHER BRIAN THOMPSON, 29, of Tacoma, Washington, was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Tacoma to 141 months in prison and five years of supervised release for Armed Bank Robbery and Brandishing a Firearm During a Crime of Violence. THOMPSON, a soldier stationed at Fort Lewis, robbed the Key Bank branch on South Tacoma Way on March 5, 2007, and again on March 22, 2007. U.S. District Judge Franklin D. Burgess sentenced THOMPSON saying he “could imagine what fear [the robberies] put folks through.”

THOMPSON pleaded guilty on May 18, 2007. In the plea agreement THOMPSON admits that he was wearing a mask and gloves on March 5, 2007, when he robbed the Key Bank branch at gunpoint. Pointing a black Beretta pistol at bank employees, he ordered them to lie on the floor while one employee filled a sack with money. THOMPSON told the woman she had 30 seconds to fill the bag, or she would be shot. He counted down the 30 seconds while she filled the bag. THOMPSON escaped with just over $7,000. About two weeks later, THOMPSON again robbed the bank wearing a mask and gloves. He ordered a second employee at gunpoint to fill the bag with cash as he counted down 30 seconds. This time THOMPSON escaped with just over $8,000. THOMPSON was later arrested at his Tacoma apartment with the $8,000 sitting on his kitchen table. THOMPSON, who was an Army Sergeant, told investigators he robbed the bank because he was $25,000-$30,000 in debt to payday loan agencies, and wanted to pay off the debt before he was deployed to Iraq.

In his sentencing memo, Assistant United States Attorney Mike Dion noted that the gun was not loaded when THOMPSON robbed the bank, but tellers did not know that. “Thompson was a very aggressive and intimidating robber. He brandished his gun menacingly, screamed at the tellers, and threatened to shoot them unless they filled his bag with money within thirty seconds.... Bank employees later told the police that they thought Thompson was going to kill them,” Dion wrote in his sentencing memo.

The case was investigated by the FBI’s Pierce County Violent Crimes Task Force and the Tacoma Police Department. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Michael Dion.

For additional information please contact Emily Langlie, Public Affairs Officer for the United States Attorney’s Office, at (206) 553-4110.

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