Rob a Bank. Make the Weekly. Enter Hollywood

Maybe they’ll screen it in the pen.

His crime has elements of a movie, I was telling bank robber Luke Sommer the other day as he sat in court. There was the dramatic takeover heist by Army Rangers sporting automatic weapons and body armor and a bungled getaway and speedy capture, followed by Sommer's wild claim the $50,000 South Tacoma bank robbery was pulled off to expose war crimes in Iraq or start an organized crime family to compete with the Hell's Angels in Canada. And then there's the happy ending— for everyone but Sommer and his merry band of bandits, of course.As it turns out, a Hollywood producer has already taken an interest, and a screenwriter is working on a script—a "based on a true story" version inspired by stories in Seattle Weekly (see "Soldier of Fortune," 11/29/06)—which would take some liberties with the facts, including the addition of a female love interest, a Bonnie to Sommer's Clyde."No kidding!" said Sommer, his eyes brightening as he waited at the defendant's table in Tacoma's U.S. District Court, ready to plead guilty to masterminding the August 2006 assault on Bank of America. "Tell them I'm interested. I'll help out any way I can."Like lots of Hollywood projects, this one might not make the big screen. After a year of planning, the production company, Rosen-Obst Productions, hasn't yet made a pitch to the studio it's aligned with (Paramount), and screenwriter Seth Lochhead tells me he now may shop the script elsewhere. As for Sommer, his real-life saga is likely over: The boyish-looking 21-year-old Ranger from the late Pat Tillman's regiment, who led two other Fort Lewis tan berets and two civilians in the holdup, pleaded guilty May 27, and in two months will be sentenced to 24 years.Sommer nonetheless seemed delighted, joking with his attorney and saying to me: "If you want a quote, how about, 'If you're going to do a crime, do it in Canada.' I would have got a lot less for robbery up there." He fled to his Okanagan (B.C.) birthplace after the robbery, then, after agreeing to house arrest, fled again to Calgary, working as a bartender until he was rearrested. Facing a possible 37-year term, he had little choice but to cop a plea, he says, after his associates indicated they were prepared to say he hatched the plan. "That's what I get for being a stand-up guy," says Sommer. "But I can't blame them. They're young."So is Sommer, says assistant U.S. Attorney Mike Dion. "Money and ego, that's what it was really about," he says: "It was senseless. What did it get him? He's going to jail for a term longer than he's been alive."

 
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