The Wild Life Of Scott Scurlock, The Eccentric Mastermind Behind Nearly 20 Seattle Bank Robberies

Published June 2, 2024

Prolific bank robber Scott Scurlock evaded arrest for years by wearing costume makeup and elaborate disguises during his robberies — earning him the nickname the “Hollywood Bandit.”

Scott Scurlock

Tammy DiamondScott Scurlock, one of U.S. history’s most successful bank robbers.

To those who knew him, Scott Scurlock was an eccentric yet likable guy. Raised by religious parents in Virginia, Scurlock stood out as a smart kid whose only apparent fault was not applying himself.

As an adult, he moved to Washington state to study as a premed student in Olympia. There, he built a massive treehouse and got his footing in the Pacific Northwest drug trade. But his real claim to fame was his talent for robbing banks.

Beginning in 1992, Scurlock robbed nearly 20 Seattle-area banks in just four years, collecting about $2.3 million and becoming Washington state’s most prolific bank robber in the process. Dubbed the “Hollywood Bandit” by the FBI, Scurlock wore a range of elaborate disguises during his robberies, leaving few clues as to his true identity.

It wasn’t until police officers compromised his getaway car one day in 1996 that Scott Scurlock’s lucky streak ended for good.

The Early Life Of Scott Scurlock

William Scott Scurlock was born in 1955 and raised in Virginia. His father was a Baptist minister, and his mother was an elementary school teacher. Scurlock was one of three children and the family’s only son.

Although his family was very religious, Scurlock was raised without structure and boundaries. He was a smart kid, but he rarely applied himself in school and was considered by friends to be charming and free-spirited, if somewhat manipulative.

In 1974, Scurlock moved to Hawaii to work with his childhood friend, Kevin Myers, on a tomato farm. At one point, Scurlock and Myers stole a marijuana plant from a nearby farm and began selling the drug. This operation ended when their employer discovered the plant on the property and fired the duo.

After this blunder, Scurlock enrolled in Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington as a premed student in 1978, apparently intent on setting himself right. This effort was short-lived.

Not long after enrolling, Scurlock reportedly began sneaking into the school’s chemistry lab to make methamphetamines, which he then sold for profit. He got away with this long enough to purchase about 20 acres of land where he would later build an idyllic three-story treehouse using stolen wood from a nearby lumberyard.

Treehouse

Washington Secretary of StateScurlock’s treehouse in Olympia, where he lived like a Lost Boy.

The house had a sundeck, plumbing, electricity, a fireplace, and a fire pole for quick descent. The property would become his home base as he ran his illicit drug operation.

For over a decade, Scurlock continued to sell methamphetamines, becoming a massive drug distributor in the region and using the profits to fund his eccentric lifestyle.

Pivoting From Drug Dealer To Bank Robber

Hollywood Bandit

NetflixScott Scurlock robbing a bank in an elaborate disguise.

In 1990, Scott Scurlock was dealt a devastating emotional blow when his drug distributor was murdered. The crime was a rude awakening, and it prompted Scurlock to quickly get out of the drug business.

Luckily, he had kept cash reserves buried on his property which carried him over until 1992. But he quickly realized he had to find another way to make money.

So, he decided to try his hand at bank robbery.

Partnering with his college friend Mark Biggins, Scurlock robbed his first bank on June 25, 1992. That day, he entered the Seafirst Bank in Seattle’s Madison Park neighborhood, disguised with theater makeup and a prosthetic nose. Biggins wore a Ronald Reagan mask.

Without hurting anyone, Scurlock left the bank that day with about $20,000 — and a newfound love for robbing banks.

On Aug. 14, 1992, Scurlock returned to the same bank alone, this time wearing a different disguise. But according to the Washington Secretary of State, tellers recognized the bandit’s authoritative demeanor.

Scurlock walked away that day with $8,124. Once again, no one was hurt. In fact, while Scurlock carried a gun, he would never harm a single person during his many robberies.

These crimes caught the attention of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), who referred to Scurlock as the “Take Charge Robber,” given his intimidating robbery style.

In the subsequent three months, Scurlock and his associates robbed four more banks in Seattle. The last robbery in this spree occurred at a different Seafirst Bank on Nov. 19, 1992 and earned the group a whopping $252,000.

After this crime, the FBI changed Scurlock’s name to the “Hollywood Bandit,” in reference to his theatrical costumes and behavior.

The FBI Closes In On Scott Scurlock

By 1993, Scott Scurlock had made over $300,000 from robbing banks.

Meanwhile, he continued to live like a Lost Boy on his bizarre treehouse property, telling those who asked that his income came from construction or carpentry work. An avid outdoorsman, Scurlock also apparently fancied himself a modern Robin Hood, donating much of the money he stole to environmental charities.

In 1994, Scurlock and his associates robbed five banks in the Pacific Northwest for a total of about $260,000. On Jan. 27, 1995, Scurlock robbed the Madison Park Branch of the Seafirst Bank for the third time, scoring a whopping $252,466, according to History Link.

But while Scurlock proved himself to be an unusually talented bank robber, the FBI was slowly closing in.

Investigators pored over surveillance footage from the robberies and combed through the details of each case. They soon estimated that Scurlock was spending roughly $20,000 a month; the date of the robberies correlated with the times he was low on cash.

With this information, the FBI began placing agents in banks “Hollywood” had robbed in the past on dates that correlated with his spending habits. They also offered a $50,000 reward for information related to the bandit’s arrest.

In total, Scurlock and his associates had stolen over $1 million from banks by 1995. And it seemed as if he had no plans to stop.

The Hollywood Bandit’s Final Robbery

Mark Biggins

King County Sheriff’s DepartmentMark Biggins, Scurlock’s accomplice.

By 1996, Scott Scurlock and his associates had committed nearly 20 bank robberies in four years.

But Scurlock’s profession came with risks — ones that would soon prove deadly for the bank robber.

On Nov. 27, 1996, Scurlock plotted to rob the Seafirst Bank in Seattle with his associates, Paul Meyers and Mark Biggins. But when Scurlock entered the bank that day, a trained teller recognized the Hollywood Bandit immediately and hit the silent alarm button.

The robbers forced the bank employees to the ground at gunpoint while they entered the vault and collected the cash. The bandits then walked out of the bank and down the street to a getaway car.

Unfortunately for them, a bank customer had discreetly followed them and reported their vehicle to 911. Task force officers soon flocked to the neighborhood, and although Scurlock and his associates ditched the getaway car for a white van, officers trained to follow suspicious vehicles soon began tailing the crew.

Realizing he was being chased, Scurlock pulled the van over and did something he had never done before: He pointed his gun with the intention of using it.

Shots rang out between officers and the van crew. Scurlock reentered the vehicle, attempting to flee. Instead, he drove the van into a nearby house — and fled on foot.

Officers approached the van and arrested Biggins and Meyers, who were injured with nonfatal gunshot wounds. The police also retrieved the blood-soaked cash the crew had stolen, amounting to about $1 million.

Soon, Biggins and Meyers would confess that Scott Scurlock was the mastermind behind all of the robberies.

Scott Scurlock Meets His End

Scurlock

Washington Secretary of StateScott Scurlock was a charming and good-looking “hippie” type.

With Scott Scurlock on the loose, the police established a six-block perimeter around the area in which he had vanished. Officers and K-9 units began patrolling the area, intent on finally nabbing the Hollywood Bandit.

The next day, two brothers named Robert and Ronald Walker were visiting their mother, Wilma Walker, for Thanksgiving dinner at her home two blocks from where the van struck the house.

Wilma kept a 10-foot camper on her property. After learning about the manhunt for the Hollywood Bandit, the brothers began suspecting someone might be hiding in the camper when they noticed that its top window was open. Ronald and Robert peered into the van — and noticed someone inside.

The two brothers called the police, and within minutes, officers surrounded the camper. Scurlock was cornered.

When one officer attempted to open the camper door, however, a shot rang out from inside, prompting the police to fire their guns into the van. After securing the area and attempting to make contact with Scurlock, officers forcefully opened the camper — and found the body of Scott Scurlock.

In the face of arrest, the Hollywood Bandit had fatally shot himself.

Who Was The Hollywood Bandit?

Soon after, officers searched Scott Scurlock’s property and found a secret underground room filled with cash, costumes, and face paint. The police were certain they had found their guy.

Following the shootout, Biggins and Meyers both went to jail for their crimes. Meanwhile, many of Scurlock’s friends and family members were left puzzled as to how he had ended up on this dark path.

Scurlock was described by friends as a “hippie” who spent much of his free time outdoors. His only apparent source of income had been carpentry. Many described him as being quiet, handsome, intelligent, gentle, and a generous tipper, and they were shocked that such a person could have masterminded so many robberies.

“I can’t even comprehend him getting into any violent world,” Stuart Scurlock, Scurlock’s cousin, told the Seattle Times. “He was always gentle, peace-loving. I can’t picture something like this.”

Some, however, noted that Scurlock had an explosive temper that often got him into fights.

“He was the scariest guy I’ve ever met,” his neighbor Greg Smith told the Seattle Times. “I wasn’t surprised to see police in front of his house yesterday morning. To see somebody like that in such an angry state, you knew something was bound to happen one day.”

With so many conflicting accounts of Hollywood’s personality, however, we may never understand just who the real Scott Scurlock was.


After reading about Scott Scurlock, dive into the story of Brian Brown Easley, the veteran who held up a bank after the Department of Veterans Affairs failed to issue his disability payment. Then, read the true story of Patty Hearst, the heiress forced to join a left-wing guerilla group and rob banks.

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Amber Morgan
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Amber Morgan is an Editorial Fellow for All That's Interesting. She graduated from the University of Florida with a degree in political science, history, and Russian. Previously, she worked as a content creator for America House Kyiv, a Ukrainian organization focused on inspiring and engaging youth through cultural exchanges.
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Maggie Donahue
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Maggie Donahue is an assistant editor at All That's Interesting. She has a Master's degree in journalism from Columbia University and a Bachelor's degree in creative writing and film studies from Johns Hopkins University. Before landing at ATI, she covered arts and culture at The A.V. Club and Colorado Public Radio and also wrote for Longreads. She is interested in stories about scientific discoveries, pop culture, the weird corners of history, unexplained phenomena, nature, and the outdoors.
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Morgan, Amber. "The Wild Life Of Scott Scurlock, The Eccentric Mastermind Behind Nearly 20 Seattle Bank Robberies." AllThatsInteresting.com, June 2, 2024, https://allthatsinteresting.com/scott-scurlock. Accessed June 22, 2024.