PORTLAND, OR—Christopher Wayne Wattam, 34, of Seattle, Washington, was sentenced by Senior District Court Judge Robert E. Jones today to 70 months in prison for an Oregon bank robbery and three Washington bank robberies.
On February 10, 2011, Wattam entered the Wells Fargo Bank located within a Safeway store at Lancaster Avenue NE in Salem, Oregon. The defendant presented a demand note stating, “This is a robbery. Quickly and Calmly hand over all $100’s, $50’s & $20 & Nobody gets hurt.” The teller informed the robber she needed to get her keys in the back room, and when she went for her keys, a fellow employee called 911. Wattam pushed aside a female customer and demanded money from a second teller. When his demands were not met, Wattam grabbed money from the second teller’s drawer. When he attempted to flee, a bank customer tackled him and a fight ensued. Three Safeway employees joined the fight and together the citizens subdued Wattam. Upon the arrival of the Marion County Sheriff’s deputies, Wattam was handcuffed after yet another brief struggle.
The defendant admitted to a 10-year heroin addiction and stated he had just arrived in the Salem area 12 hours earlier. He denied robbing other banks and stated he arrived at the bank on his bicycle.
The Salem, Oregon FBI office conducted an extensive investigation and learned that Wattam had bicycled to robberies in Western Washington. On Monday, while being sentenced for the Oregon bank robbery, the defendant pled guilty and was immediately sentenced for three additional robberies.
Wattam pled guilty to robbing the Key Bank in Belfair, Washington, on November 6, 2009, where he obtained $1,300 after presenting a demand note and wearing a dust mask as a disguise. He successfully departed the bank on a bicycle.
Wattam also pled guilty to the November 20, 2009 robbery of the Chase Bank located inside a Fred Meyer Department store in Bremerton, Washington. The defendant presented a demand note and left the bank, again on a bicycle, taking $4,636 in bank loot.