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Bike bandit pleads guilty to nine counts

He faces 17 to 22 years in prison for armed bank robberies

A hooded, BMX bike-riding Spokane man who terrorized local bank tellers for almost a year pleaded guilty Thursday in federal court to nine counts of armed bank robbery that netted more than $166,000.

Lucas G. Woodard, 34, faces between 17 and 22 years in prison after admitting he was the so-called Bicycle Bandit. Woodard would don a hooded sweatshirt, cover his face, display a black handgun and ask tellers to count backward from 500 before he pedaled away on his bike.

His sentencing is set for 9:30 a.m. Sept. 7.

Before Thursday, Woodard faced only one count of armed bank robbery and brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence. But after his arrest on Oct. 14, federal agents searched Woodard’s High Drive rental home and found evidence linking him to eight other robberies.

Facing those potential charges, Woodard and his attorney, Amy Rubin of the Federal Defenders of Eastern Washington and Idaho, agreed to a plea deal where he accepted responsibility for nine bank heists and the single weapons charge.

According to court records, the most Woodard scored at one time during his spree was $44,528. He netted more than $12,000 in every other robbery, aside from one at Chase Bank that produced $1,992.

The crime spree came to an end when Spokane police Sgt. Jason Hartman, who was off-duty at the time, heard radio traffic about a bank robbery at a Washington Trust Bank branch at 1906 W. Francis Ave.

Hartman saw Woodard fleeing the scene and steered his patrol vehicle into the path of Woodard’s bicycle.

When Woodard fell to the ground, a Glock 9 MM semi-automatic pistol and some rounds of ammunition fell out of his backpack. Hartman, who later received department commendations for his actions, said Woodard appeared to be reaching for the gun as Hartman attempted to arrest him, Assistant U.S. Attorney Joe Harrington said.

With the plea, Woodard acknowledged committing the following robberies:

• Dec. 22, 2009: Sterling Savings Bank, 3000 S. Grand Blvd.

• Feb. 13, 2010: Chase Bank, 2215 W. Northwest Blvd.

• April 19, 2010: Woodard robbed the same Chase Bank.

• May 18, 2010: Chase Bank, 3007 E. 57th Ave.

• May 26, 2010: U.S. Bank, 621 E. 30th Ave.

• July 28, 2010: Spokane Teachers Credit Union, 8703 N. Indian Trail Road.

• Aug. 13, 2010: Inland Northwest Bank, 2110 N. Ruby St.

• Aug. 24, 2010: Washington Trust Bank, 7815 N. Division St.

• Oct. 14, 2010: Woodard is arrested by Hartman after fleeing from the Washington Trust Bank at 1906 W. Francis Ave.

As part of the agreement, the attorneys will allow U.S. District Court Judge Frem Nielsen to determine how much prison time Woodard will receive.

The agreement also calls for Woodard to repay $166,849 he grabbed from the banks and for the damage done to Hartman’s patrol car by the collision with Woodard’s bicycle, which the city determined to be $3,632.72.

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