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FORT LEWIS SOLDIER PLEADS GUILTY TO ARMED BANK ROBBERY
Robbed Same Bank Twice – Faces 12+ Years in Prison

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 18, 2007

CHRISTOPHER BRIAN THOMPSON, 20, of Tacoma, Washington, pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court in Tacoma to 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. Under the terms of his plea agreement prosecutors and defense attorneys will recommend a sentence of 12-13 years in prison when U.S. District Judge Franklin D. Burgess sentences THOMPSON on August 17, 2007.

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.

Armed Bank Robbery is punishable by up to 25 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Brandishing a Firearm During a Crime of Violence is punishable by a mandatory minimum seven year prison term, consecutive to the sentence for the underlying conviction.

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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