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Serial bank robber pleads guilty to heists in Bellevue and Redmond

A 23-year-old Kent man pleaded guilty Wednesday to four counts of first-degree robbery in relation to heists at several Key Bank branches in Bellevue and Redmond.

Jason Achurra, who worked as a busboy in Seattle at the time, is scheduled to be sentenced for the robberies, and a fifth charge of unlawful possession of a firearm, March 9. Prosecutors are recommending a prison term of more than 15 years for Achurra, who was previously on probation for kidnapping and unlawful use of a firearm, according to court documents.

Achurra admitted to four bank robberies between Oct. 11 and Nov. 23, 2011. The four robberies occurred at Key Bank branches in the Factoria and Overlake neighborhoods. Achurra had an accomplice for two of the robberies, who, according to court documents remains at large.

The first robbery occurred at a branch on 156th Avenue Northeast. Achurra acted alone, and the teller on duty didn't have access to the bank vault. Achurra escaped with cash from the drawers. Investigators determined he had used an Airsoft weapon based on evidence found at the scene.

Achurra hit a Factoria branch on Nov. 7 and 19. He also robbed a Redmond branch four days later.

As the string of robberies continued, investigators began to find clues to the suspect's identity. A manager at the Factoria branch had seen Achurra's getaway car, and the description was confirmed following the Redmond robbery.

Twenty minutes after the Redmond robbery occurred, Achurra approached several Redmond officers to report a car prowl at a nearby apartment complex. Officers followed him back to his vehicle, and Achurra became skittish. The car matched the description of the getaway vehicle, and Achurra refused a search, saying he had his rights violated by law enforcement in the past.

The owner of a gun shop later came forward, saying Achurra had work done on his AK-47 rifle. This gave officers enough evidence to arrest the man for unlawful possession of a firearm. He was eventually tracked down to Ephrata, where he had traveled for the Thanksgiving holiday. Officers found cash, weapons and clothing that matched evidence from the robberies.

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