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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Washington

Friday, January 22, 2016

Repeat Bank Robber Who Struck from Coast to Coast Sentenced to 10+ Years in Prison

Defendant Robbed Banks in Vermont, New Hampshire, Florida, Mississippi, California and Washington

          A 57-year-old repeat bank robber was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to 127 months in prison and three years of supervised release for multiple bank robberies and the armed robbery of the Nordstrom fine jewelry department, announced U.S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes.  WILLIAM MITCHELL was arrested in Grants Pass, Oregon on November 12, 2014, following a string of robberies in Washington State and the robbery of the downtown Nordstrom fine jewelry department on September 11, 2014.  At sentencing U.S. District Judge Richard A. Jones said, “In committing these robberies you displayed a callous disregard for the victims and a callous disregard for the consequences of your actions.” 

          “Seeing a firearm brandished during a bank robbery is a searing experience for anyone who is there,” said United States Attorney Annette L. Hayes.  “I commend the FBI and Seattle Police Department for their work on this case that will ensure this defendant will not be able to victimize more bank tellers and patrons for a very long time.” 

            According to records filed in the case, MITCHELL was identified as a serial bank robbery suspect following the robberies of Homestreet Bank in Seattle (July 28, 2014), Wells Fargo Bank in Seattle (July 29, 2014), Timberland Bank in Olympia (October 30, 2014) and Numerica Federal Credit Union in Spokane (November 7, 2014).  Seattle police also used DNA evidence to connect MITCHELL to the armed robbery of the Nordstrom store.  DNA evidence also connected MITCHELL to bank robberies in Naples, Florida on April 4, 2014 and in Santa Barbara, California on October 2, 2014.  Speaking with investigators following his arrest, MITCHELL admitted he also committed bank robberies in South Burlington, Vermont on July 5, 2014, Ocean Springs Mississippi on May 23, 2014 and Manchester, New Hampshire, on May 30, 2014.

            In some of the robberies MITCHELL was armed with a .22 caliber hand gun.  In others he was armed with a pellet gun or an airsoft gun – both of which appeared to the victims to be deadly firearms.

            MITCHELL has an extensive criminal history in Canada and the U.S. dating back to the early 1980s.  In 1990 MITCHELL was sentenced to 207 months in prison for eleven armed bank robberies in Florida, Wisconsin, California and Washington.

            The case was investigated by the FBI and the Seattle Police Department.  The case was prosecuted by Special Assistant United States Attorney Stephen Hobbs.  Mr. Hobbs is a Senior Deputy King County Prosecutor specially designated to prosecute firearms cases in federal court.

Violent Crime
Updated January 22, 2016