Tri-City robbery suspect did time for bank jobs

A 47-year-old West Richland man suspected of robbing two banks and a drug store in a week is on federal probation for bank robberies he previously committed, prosecutors said Friday.

Troy Lee Fuller was sentenced to 12 years and six months in prison for three bank robbery convictions in Arizona, Anita Petra, deputy Benton County prosecutor, told Judge Cameron Mitchell.

It appears Fuller got out of prison in early January, she said. She requested his bail remain at $250,000.

When Mitchell asked Fuller if he wanted to say anything about the bail request, Fuller said, "No comment." The judge left bail at $250,000.

Fuller made his first appearance Friday in Benton County Superior Court, where he is charged with two counts of bank robbery and one count of first-degree robbery.

He was supposed to be in court Thursday but he was apparently too sick to leave the jail, officials said.

On Friday, after Fuller said he was not employed and could not afford to hire an attorney, Mitchell appointed Sal Mendoza Jr., to represent him.

Fuller is accused of robbing the Bank of the West branch on Canal Drive in Kennewick on Aug. 18 and the U.S. Bank branch in downtown Kennewick on Aug. 21.

In the first bank robbery, Fuller gave a note to the teller saying it was a robbery and told her "to turn over all the loose 100s and 50s," court documents said.

During the U.S. Bank robbery, a man matching Fuller's description gave the teller a similar note and also allegedly reached around his back, indicating that he had a gun, documents said.

When the teller hesitated, the robber said: "I'm not kidding. Give me all your loose 100s," and a stack of $50s was placed on the counter, documents said.

Fuller is also accused of going into the Rite Aid store on Lee Boulevard in Richland on Aug. 25, claiming he had a bomb strapped to his chest and demanding cash from the manager.

After seeing a black object taped to his body, the store manager turned over $700 from the store's safe, documents said.

The next day Fuller was tracked to the Tahitian Inn in Pasco, thanks to a citizen tip, and arrested. He's expected to be in court again Sept. 3.