Heroin addiction drove Daniel Teeples to hatch a well-orchestrated bank robbery spree last winter, authorities told a judge Wednesday.
When the Vancouver man was caught after the final robbery on Feb. 2, he willfully surrendered to police, knowing the outcome could have been way worse. His defense attorney said Teeples feared he “was either going to die from his heroin addiction or be shot by police” during a heist.
“I was on heroin, but that isn’t an excuse,” Teeples told a Clark County Superior Court judge. “I’m glad this is over. I’m glad I’m still alive.”
Judge Scott Collier sentenced Teeples — dubbed by police the “Elmer Fudd” bandit for his penchant of wearing an earflap hat and flannel clothes — to 10 1/2 years in prison.
Teeples, 40, pleaded guilty June 27 to four counts of first-degree robbery and one count of first-degree theft, which was a reduced charge from another robbery charge. The charges relate to a string of robberies that occurred in east Vancouver between December and February.
In the robberies, Teeples did not show a weapon, but implied he was armed, according to police.
Teeples’ co-defendant, Anne L. Bradley, 31, of Vancouver, also was sentenced Wednesday by Collier. She received three years in prison for serving as Teeples’ getaway driver after pleading guilty June 27 to first-degree robbery and rendering criminal assistance.
The afternoon sentencing hearing focused on the desperation that led Teeples and his girlfriend, Bradley, to commit the robberies. Senior Deputy Prosecutor Kasey Vu pointed out that the string of robberies were committed over a short period of time and two of the banks were robbed twice. Two robbery charges related to the two repeated heists were dismissed in exchange for Teeples’ guilty plea. He pleaded guilty to robbing five different banks.
Vu said in one instance, the same bank teller was held up twice.
“The audacity for which Mr. Teeples committed these robberies is amazing,” Vu said.
Vancouver police Detective Lawrence Zapata, who launched the investigation of Teeples, said the robberies were well-planned, unlike efforts by most bank bandits.
“What was unique about him was that none of the robberies was a spur-of-the-moment idea,” Zapata said, noting that Teeples researched escape routes and looked at maps of the banks before committing the heists.
When it was his turn to speak, Teeples said he wanted to apologize to the victims in the case, as well as his family, which includes his three children.
“Your children, your entire family. There are numerous victims,” the judge replied.
Collier went with a greater punishment than what the prosecution requested. Vu sought a 10-year sentence, while defense attorney George Marlton asked for his client to serve nine years.
The judge said he decided to impose 126 months because that was the midpoint of the sentencing range of 108 to 144 months, as opposed to the requested sentences, which were both at the low end.
Collier also encouraged Teeples to seek drug treatment in prison. “If you want to regain that family, you can’t fall back into drug use,” he said.
The banks Teeples pleaded guilty to robbing were US Bank, 16425 S.E. McGillivray Blvd., on Dec. 16; Key Bank, 13215 S.E. Mill Plain Blvd., on Dec. 27; US Bank, 6407 N.E. 117th Ave., on Jan. 3; and Bank of America, 3317 S.E. 192nd Ave., on Jan. 13. The theft charge relates to an alleged heist Feb. 2 at the Bank of America branch at 13411 S.E. Mill Plain Blvd.