Clyde Lacy Rattler spent eight years in prison for robbing three banks and trying to hold up a fourth in downtown Washington, all in June 2002. His total take: $6,400.
On Friday, the 55-year-old known as “Runabout” was arrested again, charged with robbing two banks a few blocks apart in the heart of the District, both on the same day. It was the description of the suspect that sparked interest: wearing a black pinstriped suit and missing three front teeth.
It turns out that Rattler, of Northeast Washington, is well accustomed to the judicial system, and not just because of his prison stint. He’s a prolific filer of lawsuits, having sued federal agencies — most often the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services — 53 times since 1985. He was unsuccessful in all of them. Rattler also appealed his conviction — and he lost that, too.
No relative could be reached Friday to comment, but Rattler’s voluminous lawsuits provide some insight into his fight with the federal government over Social Security benefits, which he maintains he’s been owed since 1983.
Rattler’s court filings are handwritten and difficult to decipher. Most — including his latest, filed May 30 — were quickly dismissed by judges, who called them frivolous. Within his request for money from the Social Security Administration, he also demanded “unlimited sums of money,” the granting of superpowers and a judge to “compel the human race to go naked on the sidewalk for eternity.”
One judge wrote that his filings contained “fantastic or delusional scenarios.”
Rattler’s 2002 bank-robbery odyssey in Washington began June 4, with a holdup at the SunTrust bank branch in the 1100 block of G Street NW. According to court documents, Rattler threatened to blow up the building and demanded large bills but did not show a weapon. He had a beard and mustache then and was wearing a dark suit and light-colored cowboy boots. He robbed or tried to rob other downtown banks on June 14, June 19 and June 21, which led to his arrest. That time, court documents say, he was wearing brown hiking boots.
In 2005, a federal jury convicted him of three counts of bank robbery and one count of attempted bank robbery, and Rattler was sentenced to prison.
He was released in 2010 but remained under supervision, and court records show that he violated the terms several times and was sent back to prison for four months in November 2011. He was released again in March 2012.
D.C. police and the FBI have now charged Rattler with robbing the United Bank branch in the 1600 block of K Street NW, near the Farragut North Metro station, about 10 a.m. Aug. 2, and then the TD Bank in the 1000 block of 15th St. NW, about 5 p.m.
Jennifer Jenkins contributed to this report.