News and Press Releases


February 18, 2009

JAMES R. KNOX, age 50, of Allyn, Washington, entered a plea of guilty today in Federal Court in Tacoma to the charge of bank robbery. Sentencing will occur before Judge Benjamin Settle on May 18, 2009. KNOX faces a maximum term of 20 years of imprisonment, a fine of $250,000 and various other terms and conditions.

Court papers indicate KNOX robbed the Kitsap Bank in Gig Harbor on October 30, 2008. He wore a mask, a hooded sweatshirt, a bicycle helmet and carried a backpack. Upon entering the bank KNOX yelled it was a robbery and rushed around the counter confronting a young, and pregnant, teller. KNOX demanded money and when the teller was not sufficiently speedy, KNOX put his hand in his pocket and gestured as though he had a gun. He moved on to a second teller and made the same gestures. KNOX fled with about $12,000 and escaped the scene on a bicycle. He rode a short distance to a car. Apparently unknown to KNOX, among the items he took from the bank was a GPS transmitter which the police then used to track his movements. A chase quickly commenced through many neighborhoods in Tacoma with KNOX driving his 1991 Cutlass at speeds up to 105 miles per hour. He eventually abandoned the car near the junction of I-5 and the Puyallup river. From there KNOX escaped on foot eastbound along railroad tracks but still in possession of the tracking device. He was found hiding in some bushes. By that time KNOX’s location was established. He was being watched by a Department of Transportation camera and a KIRO News helicopter filming the events. When arrested much of the money was on his person. A search of KNOX’s car produced the bicycle, helmet, clothes and mask all as depicted on the bank’s video surveillance cameras.

This is KNOX’s sixth bank robbery. He committed two robberies in 1988 and three more in 1999. Those federal convictions resulted in sentences totaling more than 20 years. KNOX had been out of custody on the 1999 matter only 10 days when he committed the Kitsap Bank robbery. KNOX robbed that same bank in 1999. When he is sentenced in May the government will argue KNOX is a career offender and subject to a much higher sentencing range than would otherwise apply.

The case was investigated by the Tacoma Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and prosecuted by Special Assistant United States Attorney Diane Clarkson and Assistant United States Attorney Kurt Hermanns.

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

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