Olympia man pleads guilty to robbing bank

Staff writerApril 24, 2013 

Michael Easterday, 32, pleaded guilty to robbing the South Sound Bank in Olympia, while pretending to have a gun in his pocket.

A 32-year-old former employee of the Grocery Outlet on Harrison Avenue pleaded guilty Wednesday to robbing the South Sound Bank in March while pretending to have a gun in his pocket.

The prosecutor and the defense attorney agreed to recommend that Michael Easterday, 32, serve a two-year, seven-month prison sentence for the crime. Easterday’s sentencing is scheduled for May 1.

After the bank was robbed March 5, Olympia police used a tracking device with a global positioning system to locate Easterday at his Milroy Street, home, which is three blocks from the bank. The bank is in the same strip mall as Easterday’s former employer, the Grocery Outlet.

According to court papers:

Police were dispatched to the South Sound Bank about 3:30 p.m. March 5 after an alarm there had been activated. The teller told police that a man had approached her with a paper bag and ordered her to put money in it. The man kept his right hand in his jacket pocket and was holding an object there that appeared to be a gun, the teller said.

The teller activated the alarm, and the man ran away. Dispatchers advised police over the radio that the bank’s alarm company had reported that the GPS tracker had moved, then stopped at a residence on Milroy Street. Police responded to the residence and watched a man leave the residence, get in a vehicle and drive off.

The GPS device was left in the area of the Abalon Pointe Apartments on Black Lake Road in Olympia, just a few blocks from Milroy Street. A few minutes later, police on Milroy Street saw the vehicle return to the residence. A man got out and went inside.

Police later found the tracker in a Dumpster at the Abalon Pointe Apartments. Officers surrounded the Milroy Street residence, Easterday came out and was arrested.

Easterday admitted that he robbed the South Sound Bank. He said he did not have a weapon but had attached a nail to a socket and placed it in his jacket pocket so it would look like a gun.

Police obtained a search warrant for Easterday’s residence, and inside, found a stack of $20 bills that had contained the tracking device.

Easterday does not have an extensive criminal record — a driving under the influence citation from Olympia in 2011 and an arrest on suspicion of third-degree assault in 2004. Easterday and his estranged wife have one child, according to his pretrial services report.

Based on Easterday’s lack of a prior criminal history, Thurston County Superior Court Judge Erik Price allowed Easterday out of jail until Monday, in order to spend time with his 7-year-old son and get his affairs in order, Easterday’s attorney, John Hansen, said.

Jeremy Pawloski: 360-754-5445 jpawloski@theolympian.com

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