News and Press Releases

Suspect Returned from Texas Prison after DNA Gathered from Sunglasses Left Near Robbery

March 30, 2009

ERIC M. HAWKINS, 39, a former resident of Bremerton, Washington, made his initial appearance in U.S. District Court in Tacoma today, following his indictment January 28, 2009, for Armed Bank Robbery. HAWKINS had been incarcerated in Texas on drug charges, when authorities linked him to the April 20, 2006, robbery of a Key Bank branch in Bremerton. At his arraignment today HAWKINS entered a plea of “Not Guilty” and is scheduled for trial in front of U.S. District Judge Benjamin H. Settle on May 5, 2009.

One the morning of April 20, 2006, a robber armed with a handgun and wearing sunglasses and a hooded sweatshirt, entered the Key Bank branch on Wheaton Way in Bremerton. He stole $11,846 from a teller at gunpoint. The teller included a dye pack in the stack of bills she gave the defendant. A short distance from the bank, law enforcement officers found the sweatshirt stained with the dye pack, and the pair of sunglasses. These items were retained as evidence.

A few weeks after the robbery, dye stained currency was circulating in the community. Officers were able to trace a man using the name “Gerald Lewis” to a purchase at a video game store using the stained currency. In early December, authorities in Texas contacted Bremerton authorities asking them to locate ERIC M. HAWKINS who was believed to be in the Bremerton area using the name “Gerald Lewis.” HAWKINS was located, arrested and returned to Texas to serve a prison sentence until 2013 for possession of cocaine with intent to distribute. Recently completed DNA testing of the sunglasses found near the bank robbery scene link HAWKINS to the 2006 bank robbery.

Prosecutors obtained a court order to bring HAWKINS to Washington to face the bank robbery charge.

Armed bank robbery is punishable by up to 25 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release.

The charges contained in the indictment are only allegations. A person is presumed innocent unless and until he or she is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

The case was investigated by the Bremerton Police Department and the FBI.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Nicholas Brown.

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

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