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Joshua Nitschke, 'Fast Food Bandit,' Captured After Robbing 28 Washington Restaurants

Fast Food Bandit

First Posted: 12/14/11 02:08 PM ET Updated: 12/15/11 02:05 PM ET

Between mid-October and early December, 26-year-old Joshua Nitschke developed a routine. Every few days, he would choose a local fast food joint in Pierce County, Washington -- often either a Subway or a pizza restaurant -- drive there, walk in, pull out a toy gun and rob the place.

His take was often small, as little as $15 and certainly no more than $100, but he robbed enough eateries to earn himself a moniker: the "Fast Food Bandit." And if he wasn't exactly pulling in Ocean's Eleven-range sums, he also didn't have particularly loft aspirations -- he just wanted to supplement his normal income with enough to support his and his girlfriend's prescription drug habits.

Nitschke's side career was going well -- he successfully robbed at least 26 different businesses in Puyallup, Tacoma and University Place between October 12th and December 10th. Indeed, his spree might still be going on today, had it not been for a spate of good luck for the police in Lakewood, Washington.

These police were determined to catch the culprit of the robberies, so they started patrolling local restaurants in the hopes of catching Nitschke in the act. One such patrol, at a Subway on South Tacoma Way, happened to catch Nitschke in the midst of a robbery around 7 pm. Plain-clothes officers saw the robbery take place; when Nitschke left the Subway with cash in hand, the officers blocked his runaway car in with their own and arrested him and his girfriend, 23-year-old Cassandra Koepke, who had been waiting in the car.

Nitschke confessed to all the robberies, but Koepke pled not guilty when she appeared in court on Tuesday.