Bodybuilder Performs Smackdown on Serial Bank Robber [-y suspect]

In a suburb north of Seattle, a serial bank robber (I won’t say robbery suspect, though the newspaper does) had the misfortune of having an amateur competitive bodybuilder in the chosen bank who decided to be a good member of society and stop the robbery, whereas most would just be sheep and look for cover.

It all happened in Lynnwood when a suspected serial bank robber known as the “Old School Bandit” because of his old-school bandanna disguise tried to rob a Banner Bank.
The bodybuilder — Todd Jewell, 26, of Yakima — had just arrived at the bank on 188th Street Southwest with his wife, Shawna, 27, who was waiting to hand in her résumé….
They saw a man, wearing a baseball cap and sunglasses, slip on a bandanna, approach a teller and demand money. “It took a few seconds to realize what was actually happening,” Shawna Jewell said in an interview Saturday. The 6-foot, 280-pound Todd Jewell quickly sized up the robber, who appeared to be about 3 inches shorter and 100 pounds lighter. And when he didn’t see the robber holding a weapon, he ambushed him. “I realized I should have no problem throwing him around a little bit,” Jewell said. “I was basically trying to hurt him enough to get him to stop, to get him to the ground and to quit fighting.”
He succeeded, actually breaking the man’s ribs in the process when the man wouldn’t succumb.
The man was identified as Chadwick Asheim, of Seattle, and he’s suspected in nine Seattle-area bank robberies in the past two months. A warrant had been out for him for leaving a halfway house, but authorities hadn’t been able to catch him.

Hmm, waiting for the authorities to take immediate action has resulted in nothing eight times so far, until Todd Jewell as a private citizen decided to do something and stop this violation of the social contract. I don’t blame the local cops, nor the FBI; they weren’t there nor could they have gotten there fast enough. As I was watching this on the news we were wondering if Mr. Jewell would be sued or arrested for assault. I suspect similar thoughts about our litigious society have deterred others from taking action in the previous eight instances.

This guy [“Old School”] was elusive, and I applaud him [Jewell],” said FBI agent Larry Carr, who is based in Seattle. “This is one of those cases where, every week since this guy started hitting, I had to e-mail [warnings] to banks. Now I don’t have to do this, thanks to Mr. Jewell.” Asheim was taken to the hospital for broken ribs and cuts and will be transferred to federal custody. The FBI said charges likely will be filed Monday.

And Saturday, Todd Jewell, in a cellphone interview while he and his wife drove back to Yakima, said he wasn’t a hero. “I’m just a citizen tired of seeing innocent people victimized,” he said. “I had the right tools for the job, and I just got the job done.”
Jewell suffered minor cuts and bruises. But the unemployed man received good news: He said the FBI told him about a $5,000 reward he might receive. “Being my size, I have to eat a lot, and this [money] will go towards paying the grocery bill,” he said. Jewell recently quit his job as an aerospace machinist in Yakima to focus on his bodybuilding career.

Heh, humility. And other reports stated they wanted to move to a more urban area (Yakima is very agricultural). But that didn’t stop him from understanding Web 2.0 as he was wearing a t-shirt with his website during the interviews, which I hope will help him get sponsorships so he can turn pro — do good and good will follow you. I believe he did his actions because he thought is was right, but afterwards decided he might as well use the web to further his desired career. Might as well take advantage of the free publicity.

The broadcast reports I saw (I couldn’t find an online version tonight without coding issues in Firefox) had Mr Jewell describing how he threw the robber to the ground, then when the robber resisted, he grabbed him by the hair and basically bashed his head repeatedly into the ground while placing weight on the man’s back until his ribs cracked. I know some will disagree with this because it wasn’t Mr. Jewell’s job to enforce the law and he was too brutal, the poor robber’s ribs were cracked. I say he was right because the idea that only the police have authority is asking for a police state. Mr. Jewell says he is not a hero; I agree, he was being a citizen. Too few are citizens today.

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Richard Gardner
About Richard Gardner
Richard Gardner is a “retired” Navy Submarine Officer with military policy, arms control, and budgeting experience. He contributed over 100 pieces to OTB between January 2004 and August 2008, covering special events. He has a BS in Engineering from the University of California, Irvine.


  1. Andy says:

    He “didn’t see the robber holding a weapon”, so he decided to take him on.

    That’s not being a “good member of society”, that’s being stupid. I have no problem with a Good Samaritan intervening in order to stop an assault or arson or something that’s about to cause greivous injury. But nobody should be encouraged to risk their neck to stop a few 1’s and 0’s from being pushed around on a spreadsheet somewhere.

    Bank robbers, believe it or not, do eventually get caught, even without “heroics” at the teller.