On the GPS Trail of a Bank Robber

Jim Knox's Halloween bank heist in Gig Harbor last year was his sixth, and, for the moment, final bank robbery. He held up two banks in 1988, three in 1999, and after the fifth one was caught, convicted and committed to more than 20 years. He served about half that, and was freed in mid-October 2008. Ten days later, he took a trip down memory lane, returning to one of the banks he robbed in 1999 - Kitsap Bank in Gig Harbor. Though he'd had ten years to think about it, Knox, 50, of Allyn, Wash., wasn't exactly prepared for all the contingencies.

According to court papers and U.S. Attorney spokesperson Emily Langlie, Knox - wearing a mask, hooded sweatshirt, and bike helmet - rushed in shouting robbery! and held a hand in his pocket, like he was armed. He took $12,000 from two tellers, and fled on a bicycle, which he rode to a car. So far so good.

But attached to the bank cash was a tiny GPS transmitter - which has, in some instances, replaced the exploding dye pack to track robbers. Police picked up its signal in Tacoma, and a chase ensued - Knox's '91 Cutlass reaching speeds of 105 m.p.h. Knox grabbed his bag of location-emitting cash and bailed near I-5 and the Puyallup River. He was quickly tracked to a clump of nearby bushes. He was filmed by a Department of Transportation camera, a KIRO News helicopter, and was caught on the bank's surveillance tape. Case closed. Knox pleaded guilty last month and will be sentenced in May. He faces another 20-year planning period.

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