United States Attorney Jenny A. Durkan
Western District of Washington
Repeat Mason County And Kitsap County Bank Robber Pleads Guilty
Plea Agreement Recommends 15 Year Sentence for Defendant who also Robbed Multiple Coffee Stands
A Kitsap County man who committed four bank robberies, as well as multiple espresso stand robberies, pleaded guilty to federal bank robbery charges last week, announced U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan. MICHAEL WANDKE, 48, of Seabeck, Washington, pleaded guilty last week to two counts of armed bank robbery and two counts of bank robbery for a series of bank robberies in Kingston and Allyn, Washington. WANDKE robbed the Bank of America in Kingston on December 21, 2009, and robbed the Kitsap Bank in Allyn on February 1, 2010, February 21, 2010, and July 29, 2010. Under the terms of the plea agreement, both sides will recommend a 15 year prison term to run concurrent with WANDKE’s state sentence for a series of espresso stand robberies. Sentencing is scheduled for September 7, 2012 before U.S. District Judge Robert Bryan.
According to the plea agreement, WANDKE committed his first bank robbery of the series in December 2009 at the Kingston Bank of America branch by threatening employees with a phony bomb. Parts used in the fake bomb were later traced to materials found at WANDKE’s home, such as a dog training collar. WANDKE made off with just over $4300 in that heist. In February 2010, WANDKE committed his first robbery at the Allyn branch of Kitsap Bank. He displayed a black colored handgun in his waistband and demanded money. WANDKE obtained just over $10,000, but as he fled the bank, witnesses noted a red mist coming from the area where he was holding the money. A teller had inserted a dye pack with the money. Three weeks later, February 21, 2010, WANDKE robbed the bank again, this time ordering the teller not to give him any dye packs. WANDKE forced the branch manager to leave the bank with him while he checked the bag for dye packs. WANDKE continued to threaten the woman as they walked a distance from the bank. Once satisfied there were no dye packs, the manager was allowed to go back to the bank. WANDKE made off with approximately $62,000. After the first two robberies, Kitsap Bank put in new procedures, requiring customers to be “buzzed in” through the front doors. On June 29, 2010, WANDKE forced open the front door to rob the bank one more time. He took more than $16,000 in that robbery.
On September 28, 2010, WANDKE robbed an espresso stand in Bremerton, Washington. A witness noticed a suspicious person running from the espresso stand, and noted the license plate number of the truck WANDKE was driving. Law enforcement stopped the truck a short time later and identified WANDKE as the espresso stand robber. A subsequent search of his home turned up items tying him to the series of bank robberies.
The case was investigated by the FBI, Mason County Sheriff’s Office and Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Gregory A. Gruber.