By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter
CHEHALIS – A 58-year-old man whose history reportedly includes at least seven bank robberies – some he’s been convicted of and some he’s admitted to – over more than a quarter of a century will be in Lewis County Superior Court tomorrow as lawyers prepare for his November trial, for bank robbery.
Michael Anthony Lar is currently serving a sentence of life in prison without any possibility of release following the attempted robbery of Twin Star Credit Union in Centralia and a jury trial last year.
In that case, according to court documents, Lar broke a window early on a January morning and waited inside for employees to arrive to the building on South Gold Street.
Court documents describe how his plan was foiled, but he nearly evaded capture:
The first entering employee screamed, prompting a call to 911 and the arrival of police. An officer pulled the woman outside to safety and fired two shots at the ski-mask wearing, would-be bandit.
Police surrounded the bank, but after hiding in nearby bushes nearly 12 hours, a wounded Lar called a taxi and headed to Olympia, where he was arrested the same night.
His BB gun, six-inch knife and ski mask were later found north of the bank.
Lar was convicted by a jury in March of last year in Lewis County Superior Court of first-degree attempted robbery, first-degree kidnapping and first-degree burglary.
While he awaited sentencing, a Centralia police detective got DNA samples that matched material found on duct tape from an unsolved similar robbery at the same financial institution a year earlier, according to court documents.
According to charging documents in the current case, Lar was waiting for employees to arrive early on the morning of Jan. 2, 2009.
The documents go on to allege how he managed to get away with approximately $360,000:
As the second employee began to enter the building, she heard crunching in the snow behind her, and was pushed inside.
He told the two women to open the vault and get the armored car cash drop which had been delivered two days earlier. He ordered them to lay face down on the floor and duct taped their hands and feet together before leaving.
Lar was charged in May of last year with first-degree robbery, two counts of unlawful imprisonment and first-degree burglary.
When he was charged, court documents showed he had a north Seattle address, although he was in the Lewis County Jail awaiting sentencing. He is currently residing in prison.
Tomorrow morning’s hearing is the type in which attorneys on both sides typically report to a judge if they are or are not on track for an upcoming trial.
Lar’s trial is scheduled for the week of Nov. 28. His defense attorney is Don Blair.
He is appealing last year’s conviction.
Court documents note the following other bank robberies in which Lar has either been convicted of or admitted to. He reportedly often used an air pistol:
• 1982, Wyoming
• Dec. 22, 1984, Interwest Savings Bank, Stanwood
• Feb. 21, 1985, First Interstate Bank, Stanwood
• March 14, 1996, Riverview Savings Bank, Longview
• March 29, 1996, First Community Bank, Centralia
• May 31, 1996, First Community Bank, Tumwater
• July 24, 1996, Mohave County Federal Credit Union, Arizona