News and Press Releases

United States Attorney Jenny A. Durkan
Western District of Washington

Repeat Bank Robber Sentenced To 18 Years In Prison

Four Months after Release from 14 Year Sentence, Man again Robs Bank

April 30, 2012

            A Federal Way, Washington man who previously served 14 years in prison for bank robbery, was sentenced today to 18 years in prison for the March 10, 2010, robbery of a U.S. Bank branch in Tacoma, announced U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan.  ROBERT REVELS, III, 41, was convicted following a bench trial in December 2011.  In November 2009, REVELS finished his prison sentence for two bank robberies in 1997.  Just four months after his release from a half-way house he was involved in the Tacoma bank robbery.  At sentencing U.S. District Judge Benjamin H. Settle spoke of the impact the robbery had on victims inside the bank saying, “The person who faces a brandished weapon, that’s a life sentence for them as well.”

            According to records filed in the case and testimony at trial, at the Tacoma bank robbery, a masked robber brandished a loaded pistol and threatened the bank employees and customers, including a young boy.  The robber had also kicked a prone security guard.  The robber made off with a bag containing over $8,000.  A tracking device was hidden with the money.  Police followed the tracking device and found REVELS with a bag of money stuffed in his waistband.  Following up on witness tips, police found the mask and other clothing the robber had worn discarded in a parking garage garbage can.  The mask had DNA from REVELS.  REVELS claimed that others had robbed the bank, and he had picked up the cash they dropped.  Judge Settle convicted REVELS of aiding and abetting the robbery, and said the evidence showed it was most likely that REVELS was in fact the bank robber.  However, Judge Settle found that REVELS aided and abetted the robbery, because he did not feel the evidence met the “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard that REVELS was the robber.

            In asking for a 20 year sentence, prosecutors argued that community safety must come first.  They noted that REVELS was convicted in 1987 for beating a 58-year-old janitor with a tire iron.  In 1992, and 1995 he served jail terms for beating two women in domestic violence incidents.  In 1996, he tried to ram police cars while trying to escape law enforcement. And In 1997, Revels committed two armed takeover bank robberies.  He wore a mask and brandished a handgun.  “Revels is a career violent offender who comes before the Court convicted of yet another violent crime.  The victims from the U.S. Bank robber will live forever with the memory of the terrifying ninety seconds when a masked robber held their lives in his hands,” prosecutors wrote in their sentencing memo.

            The case was investigated by the Tacoma Police Department and the FBI.  The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Michael Dion and Ye-Ting Woo.

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