Prosecutors charge man accused of being the bike-riding ‘Tour de Banks’ robber

SEATTLE (AP) — Prosecutors have charged a man accused of being the so-called “Tour de Banks” robber with eight counts of first-degree armed robbery. Prosecutors say 29-year-old Cristian Babalai is accused in eight bank robberies between Jan. 30 and Sept. 12 in the suburban Seattle communities of Bothell, Woodinville, Monroe and Mill Creek. He was charged Tuesday in King County Superior Court. Court papers say investigators found a correlation among the robberies, Babalai’s cash deposits and his gambling losses. One robbery netted $77,000. Prosecutors say cell phone records indicate the man was in the general area of each bank when the robberies took place. The FBI has said the “Tour de Banks” robber was frequently spotted riding a bicycle to the banks he robbed. However, court documents say surveillance video showed the bank robber sometimes drove a Mercedes-Benz. Babalai was arrested Friday near his Bothell home.

In a related story,

BOTHELL, Wash. (AP) — The Washington state Department of Social and Health Services has suspended the operation of a Bothell adult care home owned by a man charged in eight bank robberies. The Daily Herald reports six residents of the Loving Adult Family Home were relocated and no new residents can be admitted for the time being. Cristian C. Babalai was charged Tuesday in King County Superior Court with eight counts of first-degree armed robbery. The robberies took place between Jan. 30 and Sept. 12 in King and Snohomish counties. Babalai was arrested Friday.

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