Eric M. Collier, 36, was sentenced to 29 years, three months in prison after pleading guilty Thursday to a string of bank and pizza restaurant robberies.
Collier, of Shelton, pleaded guilty to 15 felony charges — three counts of first-degree robbery while armed with a firearm and 12 counts of first-degree robbery — in Thurston County Superior Court.
His crime spree started Sept. 20, 2014, when Collier robbed a west Olympia Taco Bell and Bank of America, and ended when Olympia police arrested him Jan. 20 as he attempted to rob yet another bank.
More than a dozen similar robberies were reported throughout Thurston and Pierce counties, including at Olympia, Lacey, Puyallup, Tacoma, Spanaway and Kent.
Collier had been held in the Thurston County Jail since his arrest.
During all but one of the robberies, Collier displayed a handgun, wore a mask and had a hooded sweatshirt pulled over his head, Olympia police reported.
In a November robbery, he fired his gun during a struggle with a Pizza Time employee, but no one was injured.
Detectives and analysts from multiple agencies — Olympia Police Department, Pierce County Sheriff’s Department, Puyallup Police Department, Thurston County Sheriff’s Office, Kent Police Department and the FBI — began investigating the robberies together in October 2014, piecing together information from the various robberies.
On Jan. 20, an Olympia officer noticed a suspicious dark sedan driving slowly through a west Olympia bank parking lot. The officer lost sight of the vehicle in heavy traffic. About 30 minutes later, Columbia Bank in Lacey was robbed at gunpoint.
Officers learned that the license plate of the suspicious vehicle didn’t match the car. The sedan was seen again at local banks.
Detectives followed the sedan to a Shelton home. The driver parked the car and switched the car’s license plate, then drove back toward Olympia. Detectives followed the sedan as it drove around local banks.
Collier parked the car at Olympia Federal Savings Bank in west Olympia and climbed out of the car, wearing clothes similar to those worn in prior robberies.
Police arrested him, and he was booked into the Thurston County Jail.