Everett bank robbery, kidnapping suspect is former Port Townsend sports champion
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Keith Thorpe/Copyright 2013, Peninsula Daily News
Bereket Piatt crosses the finish line of a North Olympic Peninsula cross-country meet for Port Townsend High School in 2009.
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Photo from an Everett Wells Fargo Bank security camera shows the robber.
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Photo copyright 2013, Peninsula Daily News
Bereket Piatt's Peninsula Daily News photo when he was named the PDN's Most Valuable Player for cross country in 2009.

By Jeremy Schwartz
Peninsula Daily News

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EVERETT — A former Port Townsend High School cross-country star was in the Snohomish County jail Saturday after being arrested for investigation of kidnapping and first-degree robbery in connection with an Everett bank robbery last week.

Bereket Piatt won the Class 1A state cross-country championship for Port Townsend High School in 2009.

But now he's in the Snohomish County jail after Everett detectives identified him as a suspect in the armed kidnapping of an Everett Community College student and robbery of a Wells Fargo bank in Everett, KOMO-TV reported.

Piatt, 20, was being held on $250,000 bail.

Piatt reportedly approached a community college student near the college at about 5 p.m. Jan. 23 as she was walking to her parked car.

He allegedly pointed a gun at her and forced her to get into the car with him.

Piatt allegedly forced the woman to drive to several places around north Everett and downtown, including stopping at the Wells Fargo Bank branch at about 6 p.m.

Piatt allegedly told the woman that he would find her and kill her if she drove away while he was in the bank.

After entering the bank, Piatt allegedly passed a threatening note to a teller demanding cash, KOMO said, and walked out with an unreported amount of money.

Piatt then reportedly got back into the car and had the kidnapping victim drop him off near where he first allegedly abducted her.

Police tracked Piatt's cellphone signals to a Tacoma train station that caused them to believe Piatt might be trying to leave the state, officials told the Everett Daily Herald.

He has family in California and Oregon, prosecutors said.

Police also were checking a report that the suspect might have been planning to leave for Puerto Rico, the Daily Herald reported.

Tacoma police arrested Piatt on Thursday. He later was transported to the Snohomish County jail.

The kidnapping victim, whose identity and age were not released, is younger than 18 and attends college courses, police said.

After Piatt, originally from Ethiopia, won the state championship as a Port Townsend High School student, he was the 2011 Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges men's individual cross-country champion for Everett Community College.

Piatt was named the All-Peninsula boys cross-country MVP by the Peninsula Daily News in 2009 when he was a junior at Port Townsend High School.

He was was chosen for the PDN's All-Peninsula cross-country team all four years of high school.


KOMO is a Seattle news partner of the Peninsula Daily News.

Reporter Jeremy Schwartz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5074, or at jschwartz@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: February 02. 2013 6:54PM
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