Serial bank robbers found guilty of West Seattle heist, 2 others

(October 2011 photo by Christopher Boffoli for WSB)
In October 2011, the Washington Federal bank in Morgan Junction was held up by two masked robbers. Days later, as reported here, two men in their mid-60s were arrested in connection with that holdup and others in the region. Today, we get word from federal prosecutors that their trial is over and both were found guilty. Here’s the announcement:

Two men with a quarter century history of robbing banks, were found guilty late yesterday of a string of bank robberies in the Seattle area, announced U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan. The two men, 66-year-old JACK P. SEXTON and 65-year-old RONALD C. KETTELLS were convicted of conspiracy to commit bank robbery, three armed bank robberies, and using a firearm during a crime of violence. The jury deliberated for about a day before finding the men guilty following a seven-day trial. Both men face a mandatory minimum 57 years in prison when sentenced by U.S. District Judge Robert S. Lasnik on June 21, 2013.

According to testimony at trial and records filed in the case, the two men were linked to three bank robberies in the Seattle area between August and October 2011. On August 8, 2011 the two men robbed a Key Bank branch on Holman Road in north Seattle. In that case the men used a bandana and a t-shirt to disguise their faces. They pointed a handgun at the tellers and threatened to kill them if they did not lie down on the floor.

They next robbed the Wells Fargo bank branch on Greenwood Avenue in Shoreline on September 12, 2011. The men wore masks: one of an elderly man, the other of President Richard Nixon. The men were armed with a pistol grip shotgun and a handgun.

Finally, on October 20, 2011, the men robbed a Washington Federal Bank branch in West Seattle. One wore a Hillary Clinton mask, the other the same “elderly man” mask as in the previous robbery. Again they pointed the pistol grip shotgun and handgun at the tellers and demanded money.

Key information in the case came from an alert neighbor at one of the robberies who noted the license plate number of the get-away car. The car was ultimately linked to SEXTON and the person who had sold him the vehicle knew where SEXTON and KETTELLS were living. Both had recently been released from prison. A search of their vehicles and residence turned up bags used in the robberies as well as four firearms – including the ones used in the robberies. Investigators also found the masks used in the robbery, and DNA on the inside of the masks linked them to both men.

Both men have numerous prior convictions. KETTELLS has convictions dating back to 1963 for assault, burglary and bank robbery. Similarly, SEXTON has convictions dating back to the 1960s for burglary, forgery, and armed bank robbery.

The case was investigated by the FBI’s Seattle Safe Streets Task Force, which includes investigators from the Seattle Police Department, as well as the King County Sheriff’s Office. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Andrew Friedman and Francis Franze-Nakamura.

12 Replies to "Serial bank robbers found guilty of West Seattle heist, 2 others"

  • marty March 28, 2013 (12:47 pm)

    I knew Ron Kettells back in the 60’s when he went to Fauntleroy Grade School. He started to get into trouble when he was in jr. high at Denny. Looks like that pattern continued!

  • onceachef March 28, 2013 (2:29 pm)

    bye-bye jail-birdies!

  • CubanRefugee March 28, 2013 (2:59 pm)

    So is this just filming for a new version of the movie Tough Guys?

  • cjboffoli March 28, 2013 (4:57 pm)

    These were the serial robbers who apparently robbed banks wearing George W. Bush masks. I’m sure the FBI appreciated the thieves branding themselves with an easy-to-connect signature gesture. Looks like they didn’t learn much in a lifetime of crime.

  • Thuggery March 28, 2013 (5:31 pm)

    Enjoy the pen, thugs. I have read it is nothing but big-time fun in there. Just don’t steal from the Head Thug. He doesn’t like it. hehehaha

  • Carol O, March 28, 2013 (8:26 pm)

    I was a student at Fauntleroy from kindergarden to second grade. When I left the school around 1970 my age was eight years old now I am 51. Kettles listed age is sixty-five does not seem he could have been a student in elementary school in the sixties. Marty did you mean the fifties?

  • MrB March 28, 2013 (9:09 pm)

    Serves them right for being stupid enough to rob Washington Federal Savings.

  • Buck March 28, 2013 (9:36 pm)

    Hey 3 square meals a day and a bunk bed with your bff…enjoy the rest of your miserable lives behind bars losers!

  • Eric1 March 28, 2013 (10:28 pm)

    You would think that by age 60 or so, you would find gainful employment.

  • egigik March 29, 2013 (6:55 am)

    This should reduce the West Seattle rising crime rate by 00.1%

  • marty March 30, 2013 (10:37 am)

    Carol R: Ron and I were at Fauntleroy (6th grade) in 1960. We were both 12 years old at the time. I may be 65, but I can still count!

  • Carol O. April 1, 2013 (9:18 am)

    Ok Marty but it’s Carol O not R.

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