Prosecutors: Bank robber was UW football player

by: Amy Clancy Updated:

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A man suspected of an armed bank robbery earlier this month is a former University of Washington football player, youth coach and former standout at Evergreen High School.

Luther Leonard, 23, had a Tuesday afternoon bail hearing where a judge ordered him held on $100,000 bail on suspicion of a July 1 bank robbery. His alleged accomplice, Jeffrey Pool, is being held on $1 million bail for the same incident.

Leonard and Pool were arrested Monday in Renton by the FBI Safe Streets Task Force, which was joined by the King County Sheriff's Office SWAT unit.

Click here to see photos of who police call the Big Top bank robbers.

Leonard was an assistant boys basketball coach at Finn Hill Middle School this past school year and was approved to be a volunteer coach with the Juanita High School football team, pending a background check a district spokeswoman said.

Neither Leonard nor Pool have been charged, though charges are expected this week.

In the July 1 incident at the Newcastle Bank of America, police said both suspects were armed with pistols and stole roughly $47,000 before fleeing on foot.

"One surveillance camera led detectives to (know) that the suspects had been carrying a plastic water bottle prior to the robbery," a detective wrote in a probable cause document. "This water bottle was located (tossed away as litter by the suspects prior to the robbery) by detectives and examined for finger prints."

Two prints were matched to Leonard and Pool, according to court documents.

That led to the search of their joint residence Monday in Renton, where Leonard and Pool were arrested.

"Leonard confessed (post-Miranda) to being one of the armed robbers in the (July 1) Bank of America robbery," the detective wrote. "He claimed to have been armed with a realistic looking BB gun (found by police during warrant service)."

Police said Pool confessed to the Newcastle Bank of America robbery as well as four other King County robberies since January. Officers reported finding a 9 mm pistol in his room.

Court documents show he also has robbery warrants from Wichita County, Texas and the Texas Parole Board.

Earlier this month, detectives released surveillance photos from three of the robberies, as well as photos of a car believed to have been used in the Feb. 28 Key Bank robbery.

Leonard played two games as a Husky wide receiver in 2011. He redshirted his true freshman season and didn't play in the following two seasons.

As a senior, Leonard led Evergreen High School to a 9-2 record and a share of the Seamount League championship, playing quarterback and defensive back. He was an All-Seamount quarterback, completing 94-155 passes for 1,709 yards and 20 touchdowns.