A Federal Way professional boxer and his 15-year-old stepson have been arrested for allegedly being part of the bank robbery ring known as the “Buddy Bandits.”
Vincent Gary Thompson, 31, was booked into Pierce County Jail on charges of robbery in the first degree on April 17. He is being held on $1 million bail.
Thompson was arrested in connection with an April 7 robbery at a U.S. Bank in a Fredrickson Safeway store.
According to charging papers, Thompson — along with Robert Cal Adams, 31, Jeffrey D. Black, 27, and two juvenile males — allegedly formed a bank robbery ring, which is believed to be responsible for six robberies in Pierce County, two in King County and one in Spokane County. Adams has not been arrested.
The group earned the name “Buddy Bandits” after they allegedly robbed the banks in pairs while the others waited outside. “The Buddy Bandits” allegedly used juveniles, including Thompson’s stepson, to rob banks, while the adults looked on, according to charging documents.
The robberies took place in Tacoma, Fredrickson, Kent, Renton, Des Moines and Spokane. The group is also under investigation for nine more robberies in Federal Way, according to documents.
Thompson’s 15-year-old stepson and a 14-year-old accomplice would allegedly go up to tellers, hand them a note and pull off the robbery, according to charges. All of the parties split the proceeds in accordance to their ranking within the organization or in the robbery itself.
The two juveniles are currently in custody at the King County Juvenile Detention Center and awaiting potential charges in King County. After that, the two boys could be transported to Pierce County for charging, potentially as adults, according to documents.
At approximately 3:05 p.m. on April 7, Black allegedly approached a female teller and handed her a note demanding $4,500 in cash, according to documents. Black also allegedly stated, “This isn’t a joke. I have a gun,” the documents continue.
At the same time, one of the juveniles gave a note to another teller at the same branch. His note said, “$5,000.” The boy stated to the teller that he had a weapon in his pocket, don’t be a hero and give me the money, according to documents.
According to Black and the juvenile, both Adams and Thompson were waiting outside of the Safeway/U.S. Bank in the getaway car, with Thompson acting as the driver.
“They just recruited younger kids and had them do (the robberies) in exchange for part of the money and a place for them to live,” Ed Troyer with the Pierce County Sheriff’s Office told KIRO 7.
Thompson started his professional boxing career with an impressive 13-0 record. The heavyweight lost his first pro fight in September to Charles Martin at the Little Creek Casino in Shelton.
He inked a five-year contract with Roy Englebrecht Promotions late last year. Thompson also fought on national television in 2012 on ESPN’s Friday Night Fights, where he defeated Tennessee’s Joell Godfrey by unanimous decision.
Thompson also fought several times at the Emerald Queen Casino in Fife in the popular Battle at the Boat series.