Alleged bank robber arrested

A 60-year-old Mason County man with no prior felony convictions has been charged with first-degree robbery in the holdup of a U.S. Bank satellite branch in a Port Orchard grocery store last month.

According to the Port Orchard Police Department, Lonnie Edward Williams was arrested on Saturday, Sept. 4, in his Belfair home after a tip called into Crime Stoppers led local authorities to suspect him in the Aug. 10 robbery.

“Apparently, he was spouting off to someone else about the crime and was waving around the money,” said Chief Al Townsend, explaining that soon after Tacoma police officers met with an informant, a POPD detective and two Mason County deputies arrived at Williams’ home with a search warrant.

At Williams’ home, Townsend said the officer’s found several pieces of evidence, including a shirt and pair of pants that matched the clothing the robber was wearing in the surveillance video recorded the day of the crime.

According to the police incident report, a 27-year-old employee at the Albertsons grocery store at 370 Sedgwick Drive called 911 shortly after 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 10, to report that a man in his early 60s approached his desk and asked if it was too late to open an account.

When the man sat down, however, the clerk said the suspect pulled out a note that said: “This is a holdup,” and requested a certain amount of $100 and $50 bills with no dye packs. It ended with, “I’m prepared to die today.”

When the suspect was given the money and prepared to leave, the clerk said he said “Don’t follow me. I’m ready to die today — are you?”

Williams, who was scheduled for arraignment Tuesday but refused to go to the courtroom, pleaded not guilty to one count of first-degree robbery Wednesday in Kitsap County Superior Court.

Judge Leila Mills upheld the prosecuting attorney’s request that the defendant’s bail be set at $150,000, citing a failure to appear warrant for district court, and a pending malicious mischief charge in Mason County.

Williams’ omnibus is scheduled for Sept. 30, with a trial date of Oct. 27.

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