Small Town News

Crime

Allyn bank robbed at gunpoint

Belfair Herald of Belfair, Washington

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A man with a gun robbed the Allyn branch of Kitsap Bank shortly after 11 a.m. on Monday and one nearby witness gave chase with a gun of his own.

A lone white male walked into the bank armed with a black semi-automatic handgun and demanded money, according to police. A bank teller told investigators the suspect said, "Don't follow me or I'll put a bullet in you."

The suspect got away with an undisclosed amount of cash and no one inside the bank was injured, police said.

Michael Hill, the newly hired general manager at Lennard Ks Boathouse across the street, said he saw the suspect run out of the bank when a pink dye pack exploded about 50 to 100 feet from the entrance.

"That thing popped and he was blowing smoke all over the place," Hill said. "I know living out here in Allyn that there's not a lot of police and thought I would do what I can to help the community until police arrived."

The suspect is described as a white male in his 40s, about 5'10" wearing a two-tone baseball cap, a khaki jacket, blue jeans and white tennis shoes. Investigators noted that the suspect would likely have pink dye on his person or clothing. Police said the suspect could also be the same man that robbed an espresso stand in Silverdale on Saturday. A surveillance video of that robbery shows a suspect that appears to be identical to the man captured in images from bank cameras.

"I was on him," Hill said, before he quickly realized that the suspect got away from what he mistakenly thought was a dead-end.

Hill, who has had a concealed pistol license for some 20 years, had a gun on his hip and chased the suspect up Wheelwright in his vehicle, where he thought he had him cornered.

Tuesday's bank robbery marks the second so far this year in Mason County. The first occurred at Hoodsport's West Coast Bank shortly before 1 p.m. on January 11. In that case, surveillance cameras produced crystal-clear images of the suspect and Monty Willy, 45, was arrested outside of his Shelton area home the next day. Willy is being held on a $250,000 bail at the Mason County Jail.

Mason County Sheriffs Office Chief Deputy Dean Byrd said he hopes that Monday's robbery is resolved as quickly as the one in Hoodsport was.

"The last bank robber was captured within 25 hours of the incident and we're hoping for the same results in this case," Byrd said. "Lastly, I would just say that there are better ways to make a living than robbing banks. Eventually, you're going to get caught."

Chief Byrd also said that Monday's robbery in Allyn is somewhat unusual in that a gun was displayed.

"Our experience has been that it's mostly notes," he said of area bank robberies, noting that the use of a gun carries a five-year enhancement for sentencing.

Byrd said that there was a deputy in the area at the time of the robbery, but the deputy was not able to get to the bank in time to see the suspect. A K-9 unit was called in from Thurston County, but was not able to locate the subject.

"The dog tracked up to a certain point and then stopped, which would be consistent with the individual getting in a vehicle there and leaving," Byrd said.

While giving chase Hill called 911 to alert them of what was going on before meting up with a deputy about 10 minutes after the robbery.

"The officers were very appreciative," Hill said. "They said, "We don't recommend anybody going after an armed bank robber but we appreciate your bravery and quick reaction. They were cool about it."

Hill said the only question the officers had was whether or not he had a concealed pistol license, which was quickly confirmed. Hill also said he never hesitated when he realized that the bank was being robbed.

"My pistol was already in its holster on my hip and I just bounced out the door without any second thought," he said, noting that nobody else was in a position to help protect people from someone likely armed and dangerous.

"I'd be willing to do anything to protect anyone under any circumstance," Hill said.

Anyone with information about the robbery or the suspect is encouraged to call the sheriffs office at 427-9670, extension 313, or 427-7761. Individuals may also call 911.



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Original Publication Date: February 4, 2010



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