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Bank robber gets 17 years

A 25-year-old man who used a pillowcase and a gun to rob a Port Orchard bank two Fridays in a row two summers ago was sentenced to 17 years in prison this month, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Michael Roger Yates, formerly of Shelton, pleaded guilty in January of this year to charges that he not only held-up the Washington Mutual Branch on Mile Hill Drive on successive Friday afternoons, but that earlier he had also robbed the same Kitsap Bank branch in East Bremerton twice, as well.

On Oct. 12, Yates was sentenced in U.S. District Court in Tacoma to 17 years in prison and five years of supervised release on charges of armed bank robbery and for using firearms in the commission of those acts.

While at least one report by FBI Special Agent Patrick Gahan described Yates as surprisingly polite during the first Port Orchard robbery on June 23 and said he told the tellers, “Sorry, but sometimes you have to do these kinds of things,” and “I won’t hurt you,” at Yates’ sentencing prosecutors described a very different scene.

Quoting victim impact statements, prosecutors described the bank tellers as being terrified when Yates entered the banks wearing a ski mask and carrying a gun.

Some of the victims were also quoted as saying they would never “feel truly safe and secure again.”

The first robbery occurred May 30 at the Kitsap Bank on Wheaton Way, and the same branch was hit again nearly a month later on June 22. A total of $18,642 was reported stolen from that branch.

The following day, Yates allegedly robbed the Washington Mutual on Mile Hill Drive for the first time.

A week later on June 30, the branch was robbed again in the same manner and at about the same time of day, around 2 p.m. A total of $62,535 was reported stolen in those robberies.

When interviewed by Special Agent Gahan while in the Mason County Jail in July of last year, Yates reportedly admitted to committing the robberies. During the first three, he said he used an unloaded pistol from Jeffrey Busby, who did not enter the banks but waited in the car.

In July 2007, Busby was sentenced in Clark County Superior Court to just over 20 years in prison for the robberies and a home invasion robbery near Vancouver, Wash., the U.S Attorney’s Office reported.

Both men will have to pay just over $81,000 in restitution to the banks.

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