'Tour de Banks' robbery suspect ordered held on $800,000 bail

A Bothell man suspected of being the “Tour de Banks” robber was ordered held in King County Jail on $800,000 bail Saturday.

Cristian Babalai, 29, was arrested near his Bothell home on Friday, suspected of robbing eight separate banks in King and Snohomish Counties between Jan. 20 and Sept. 12. One of the banks Babalai is suspected of robbing was in Bothell.

He is suspected of being the man dubbed the “Tour de Banks” robber, who gained the nickname from the fact that he fled the bank robberies on a bicycle.

The deadline for filing charges is Tuesday according to the King County Prosecutor’s Office.

The arrest was the result of an extensive collaborative effort between the King County Sheriff’s Office, the FBI Safe Streets Task Force and detectives from Bothell, Monroe, Arlington and Mill Creek Police Departments.

“A serial bank robbery is a giant threat to public safety and it is great to see all of our agencies working together to put him away,” said King County Sheriff Steve Strachan on Friday.

Detectives said they watched the man’s house early this morning and arrested him as he drove from his home in the 20300 block of 124 Ave. N.E. around 8 a.m.

“This was an excellent resolution to a very dangerous threat and shows what can be accomplished with strong partnerships between local law enforcement agencies and the FBI,” said Bothell Chief Carol Cummings.

After the arrest detectives served search warrants on the man’s Bothell home and an adult family home he owns in the 21100 block of 46 Ave. S.E. in Snohomish County.


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