Northwest NEWS

December 14, 1998

Local News

Area bank robber pleads guilty

A man known variously as the "Eastside bank robber," the "baseball-cap bandit," and the "yuppie bank robber" plead guilty to six hold-ups and admitted to nine other bank robberies and one attempt in U.S. District Court last week.

   Randall Fermstad, 30, reportedly faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for each guilty plea.

   This past summer, Fermstad struck about once a week, hitting banks in every upper Eastside city except Woodinville. As part of a plea agreement, he plead guilty to robbing the Totem Lake Washington Mutual on July 2, Totem Lake Key Bank on July 13, Juanita U.S. Bank on Aug. 3, Kenmore Key Bank on Aug. 6, Kingsgate Washington Mutual on Aug. 17, and a Redmond Seafirst on Aug. 22.

   Additionally, Fermstad admitted to robbing banks in Bothell, Bellevue, Lynnwood, Tukwila, Fife, Kent, Auburn, and Federal Way, and a failed attempt in Redmond. Masked by a baseball cap and sunglasses, Fermstad would calmly wait in line with other bank customers, hand the teller a note on an envelope which implied he had a weapon, and asked for money.

   Fermstad's spree came to an end Oct. 10 when he was arrested at the Muckleshoot Casino. FBI agents said a tip led authorities to identifying Fermstad as their suspect. A federal warrant was issued for his arrest Oct. 9 and his photo was distributed to law enforcement and casinos.

   According to the Seattle P-I, Fermstad stole $27,000 all totaled. He will be sentenced next year.