News and Press Releases

Group Used Automatic Weapons, Military Precision in August 2006 Tacoma Bank Robbery

March 20, 2009

NATHAN R. DUNMALL, 20, of Chilliwack, British Columbia, Canada, was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Tacoma to ten years in prison and five years of supervised release for Armed Bank Robbery, and Brandishing a machine gun during and in relation to a crime of violence. DUNMALL is one of five men convicted of the August 7, 2006 robbery of the Bank of America branch on South Tacoma Way. Three of the defendants were members of an elite Army Ranger Unit based at Fort Lewis. DUNMALL is one of two Canadians who traveled to Tacoma for the robbery. U.S. District Judge Robert J. Bryan imposed the sentence.

According to documents filed in the case, Army Ranger Luke E. Sommer, Canadian nationals, Tigra J.A. Robertson and Nathan R. Dunmall and Army Rangers Chad Palmer and Alex M. Blum to participate in the robbery. At a meeting the day before the robbery, Sommer provided the men with weapons including loaded fully automatic AK-47 machine guns. The men wore soft body armor to protect themselves in case of a shoot-out with police. DUNMALL did not know how to shoot an AK-47, so he and Sommer agreed that if there was a shoot-out, DUNMALL would turn the automatic weapon over to Sommer.

The robbery occurred at 5:15 PM on August 7, 2006. The men entered the bank in black masks and military garb. Over the 90 seconds of the robbery the men ordered the tellers to turn over their money and open the vault. DUNMALL stood at one of the entrances to the bank, armed with the AK-47. The men escaped with more than $50,000 from the teller drawers. An alert bystander spotted the license plate of the car the men used for their escape and reported it to the police. The car was traced to Fort Lewis where evidence of the crime was uncovered at the mens’ barracks.

Assistant United States Attorney Mike Dion said the ten year sentence was justified by explaining: “Nathan Dunmall was part of a spectacularly dangerous bank robbery. He knew that, if the police arrived, Luke Sommer planned to go to war. The robbers were armed for combat... Dunmall was willing to kill, or, at the very least, to help Sommer kill. This crime demands a very long sentence.”

In December 2008, Sommer was sentenced to 24 years in prison and Chad Palmer was sentenced to 11 years in prison. In February 2009, Tigra Robertson was sentenced to twelve and a half years in prison. Blum, the getaway driver, was sentenced last week to 16 months in prison.

The case was investigated by the FBI. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Mike Dion and Jill Otake.

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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