Bail set for suspect accused of stealing an ATM with a forklift


Bail is set at $100,000 for a man accused of using a forklift to steal an ATM from the front of the Washington State Employees Credit Union (WSECU) building in the 1700 block of Northwest Louisiana Avenue on Sunday, Jan. 13.

The suspect, identified as Keith Steven Kimball, 27, of Spanaway, was arrested in Pierce County on a separate ATM theft case on Thursday, Jan. 18, according to the Chehalis Police Department and court documents filed in Lewis County Superior Court.

Kimball was charged in Lewis County Superior Court with one count each of first-degree theft, first-degree malicious mischief, second-degree burglary and theft of a motor vehicle on Jan. 23.

The court issued a $100,000 warrant for Kimball’s arrest that same day.

“The state is seeking a warrant so that if Mr. Kimball is released or bonded out of Pierce County, he will be brought to Lewis County to face these charges,” the Lewis County Prosecutor’s Office stated in charging documents.

Court documents indicate Kimball’s bail in Pierce County was $17,500. He was released from Pierce County sometime before Monday, Jan. 29, when he was booked into the Lewis County Jail. Kimball had a preliminary hearing in Lewis County Superior Court on Tuesday, Jan. 30.

During that hearing, Commissioner Paul Strophy granted Deputy Prosecutor Paul Masiello’s request to maintain the $100,000 bail set in the warrant.

“This is essentially, at least in my personal opinion, very akin to a bank robbery,” Masiello said of the allegations on Tuesday.

Kimball and a second unidentified male suspect are accused of stealing a forklift from a construction site at Walmart in the 1600 block of Northwest Louisiana Avenue and using the forklift to steal an ATM from the front of a nearby WSECU building in the early morning hours of Jan. 13.

Video surveillance of the parking lot captured by WSECU and nearby businesses reportedly shows a blue Subaru, which detectives later learned belonged to Kimball, in front of the bank at 1:45 a.m. on Jan. 13. The vehicle, which was occupied by two males, “quickly left the area in front of the bank” and was next seen “on the side of the Home Depot store,” which is located in the same parking lot as the bank.

Detectives described the driver as “a white male, between 20-30 years of age, wearing a black face covering and a gray/blue stocking cap,” gloves and “a grey-black jacket with ‘686’ on the left shoulder.

The passenger, who had not been identified as of Jan. 23, was reportedly wearing gloves and a “tannish/brownish Carhartt-style coat with orange/red flannel hood lining.”

At about 3 a.m., video reportedly shows a forklift, likely operated by the unidentified Subaru passenger, approach the ATM “with the arms extended” before “the ATM  is gifted and pulled away, ripping the wires off and creating electrical sparks,” according to court documents.

Video then reportedly shows the Subaru following the forklift to the Home Depot parking lot.

A Home Depot employee reportedly found the broken ATM on the ground near the store’s garden center at approximately 8 a.m. on Jan. 13, according to court documents.

The Chehalis Police Department indicates officers were dispatched to the scene at approximately 8:15 a.m. that morning.

When officers arrived, they “noticed the WSECU ATM machine was missing and a disabled parking sign nearby had been bent backwards. There was debris present on the ground and also there was exposed wiring where the ATM machine had previously been located,” according to court documents.

A forklift was reportedly located next to the spot where the Home Depot employee found the broken ATM. At the time officers arrived at the scene, the forklift “was still running,” and its arms were “raised in (a) manner which it appeared to have dropped the ATM machine on the ground to break it open.”

The ATM itself was missing four out of its five cash drawers, with the fifth cash drawer “still stuck in the machine,” according to court documents.

WSECU staff later confirmed the ATM had $104,480 in cash inside at the time of the theft, in addition to an additional $12,605 in cash deposits and $21,520.46 in checks, according to court documents. The ATM itself is valued at $36,949.

After detectives identified Kimball as the owner of the blue Subaru, detectives reportedly learned Pierce County was investigating a similar crime out of Graham.

In that theft, a Chase ATM was “stolen and broken open using a forklift in the same manner,” according to court documents.

The Pierce County Sheriff’s Office deputy handling that case reportedly called a Chehalis detective “to tell him he was able to positively identify the suspect in the blue Subaru as Keith S. Kimball.”

The Chehalis detective reportedly “indicated that, after viewing the photographs (from the Pierce County investigation), he is also confident,” according to court documents.

Pierce County law enforcement personnel arrested Kimball in Spanaway on Thursday, Jan. 18, according to the Chehalis Police Department and court documents filed in Lewis County Superior Court.

Kimball reportedly had $15,800 in U.S. currency on his person at the time of his arrest.

The execution of a search warrant on the blue Subaru located at Kimball’s residence yielded a jacket with “686” on the sleeve “that could be seen in the drive-up ATM video,” as well as “additional clothing … which appeared to be worn by the second unidentified suspect,” according to court documents.

Detectives also found a safe “that contained a large amount of crystalline substance that appeared to be methamphetamine,” digital scales, “some currency bound by rubber bands,” 11 gift cards and credit cards, and receipts for recently purchased gift cards and electronics.

Kimball reportedly “was not willing to provide any information to Pierce County,” according to court documents.

His arraignment hearing on the Lewis County case is scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 8.