Update: Police seek 3 robbers in West Seattle Viking Bank holdup

May 19, 2011 at 3:50 pm | In Crime, West Seattle news | 35 Comments

(6:07 PM UPDATE: Seattle Police have released their official summary. Adding that, and more photos, below)

ORIGINAL 3:50 PM REPORT: Police are at Viking Bank in The Junction – and nearby – looking for bank robbers. Seattle Police say three people robbed the bank. According to Officer Renée Witt in the media-response unit, they were described as possibly armed, three Hispanic men in their 20s, medium build, one wearing a red bandanna, black or dark hoodie, with black sweat pants.

3:57 PM UPDATE: Just added a photo. And yes, that’s what the helicopter is doing over The Junction.

4:30 PM UPDATE: The FBI is on scene as well as Seattle Police, since they have jurisdiction in bank robberies. Multiple witnesses report that some evidence was found, but there is no word of arrests. No injuries either, in case you were wondering.

(This photos and others below, all by Christopher Boffoli for WSB unless otherwise credited)
4;49 PM UPDATE: There have been anecdotal reports that some area schools’ afterschool programs sheltered in place while the search was on. We’re having trouble getting anyone on the phone to confirm this – but in case you are worried, know that NO INJURIES ARE REPORTED ANYWHERE as a result of the robbery or the search. Meantime, according to what Christopher Boffoli photographed, they left significant evidence behind:

5:05 PM UPDATE: Teresa Wippel from Seattle Public Schools confirms that Madison Middle School did decide to have the students who were still on campus “shelter in place” – some were outside when the school heard about the robbery, and the school decided – it was a unilateral decision, not a police order – to bring them in. Wippel says they also called the parents of students who would usually go home by themselves, and they escorted students to school buses.

6:07 PM UPDATE: Police have just published their summary of the robbery at SPD Blotter. Click ahead to see it in full, along with more of our photos:

On May 19th at approximately 3:33 p.m. officers responded to reports of a bank robbery in the 4000 block of SW Alaska Street. Preliminary investigation indicates that three masked suspects armed with handguns entered the bank and held the employees at bay while the suspects emptied the cash drawers and then fled the scene on foot.

Nobody was injured and no customers were in the bank at the time of the robbery. Responding officers conducted an area search however, the suspects remain at large.

The Safe Streets Task Force (a joint SPD-FBI task force) will be conducting the follow up investigation.

Anyone with information about this incident or who may know the identities or whereabouts of any of the suspects is asked to call 911 or the Seattle Police Robbery Unit at (206) 684-5535 and refer to this incident.

Adree-Rose shared this view of police in her alley, early in the search:

35 Comments

  1. Police all over 39th and Oregon & Genesee area.

    Comment by Wsgirl — 3:51 pm May 19, 2011 #

  2. I passed by around 3:30 and the police were just arriving

    Comment by Hendog — 3:55 pm May 19, 2011 #

  3. I live on 35th at SW Morgan and just had 6 police cars speed past here at speeds I don’t think I have ever seen them go before with their sirens blaring… Was able to get the West Seattle Blog page open to find out what was going on before I could even get the Police scanner page open. WSB ROCKS!! Hope no one was hurt in the robbery and hope they get who they’re looking for. Hate people who think they can just take what’s not theirs to take.

    Comment by S — 3:56 pm May 19, 2011 #

  4. Police & helicopters all over 39th & Oregon & Genesee area.

    Comment by Wsgirl — 3:56 pm May 19, 2011 #

  5. police have closed off the alley between 40th and 41st where I live looking for suspects.

    Comment by melissa — 3:57 pm May 19, 2011 #

  6. Heard on the scanner it *sounded* like they found the bag of money and it had “dye pack activation” Heh. Wish I could have seen that when it activated.
    .
    Hope no one at the bank was physically hurt; I know it must scare the bejeebus out of them.

    Comment by Mookie — 4:08 pm May 19, 2011 #

  7. they did find the bag of money in the alley. red dye everywhere.

    Comment by melissa — 4:11 pm May 19, 2011 #

  8. The sun comes out and so does the riff raff!

    Comment by lostcoyote — 4:31 pm May 19, 2011 #

  9. Apparently HR school is on lock down. My wife was picking up our son when they locked the school down.

    Comment by SJD — 4:39 pm May 19, 2011 #

  10. Riff Raff really gets around. First the Met Market, now Viking Bank.

    Comment by chrisma — 4:41 pm May 19, 2011 #

  11. Madison is also on lock down.

    Comment by some girl — 4:41 pm May 19, 2011 #

  12. HR school no longer on lock down

    Comment by SJD — 4:43 pm May 19, 2011 #

  13. We’re calling to check on that. Doesn’t make sense, that’s nowhere near the search zone.

    Comment by WSB — 4:43 pm May 19, 2011 #

  14. I actually saw the suspects fleeing and gave a witness statement to the primary officers who arrived at the scene.

    Comment by cjboffoli — 4:46 pm May 19, 2011 #

  15. Did they get caught cj? If not maybe you could provide a description for the rest of us.

    Comment by maplesyrup — 4:50 pm May 19, 2011 #

  16. thanks for keeping this so up to date. I work right next to all the action and had no idea what was happening til I opened the blog. You guys are the best. have locked our businesses’ doors til this blows over

    Comment by JoanE — 4:52 pm May 19, 2011 #

  17. “riff raff really gets around” comment. What happened at the met market?

    Comment by EmmyJane — 4:53 pm May 19, 2011 #

  18. Cops. In. Shorts.
    .
    Yay!

    Comment by Mookie — 4:55 pm May 19, 2011 #

  19. Check the local casino.

    Comment by foy boy — 5:05 pm May 19, 2011 #

  20. @chrisma What happened at Met Market?

    Comment by JA — 5:17 pm May 19, 2011 #

  21. Amen Mookie! Sorry we had to see them under these circumstances, however..

    Comment by Missing WS — 5:18 pm May 19, 2011 #

  22. The Riff Raff comment is a bit of a joke, folks. Trisket it started in the Forums a couple of weeks ago, and then lostcoyote threw it out there again today.

    http://westseattleblog.com/forum/topic/rant-safeway-never-again#post-126274

    Didn’t meant to get anyone worried, and I am very glad to hear no one was injured in today’s events.

    Comment by chrisma — 6:09 pm May 19, 2011 #

  23. Well it sounds like they packed the money themselves, so I wonder the dye pack got in the bag?

    Comment by chrisma — 6:39 pm May 19, 2011 #

  24. Nice coverage WSB!

    Comment by Recall McGinn — 6:52 pm May 19, 2011 #

  25. One of the copters followed me home from the gas station. Cuz I’m Hispanic? LOL Probably not. I gave them the finger and told them to go hover somewhere elase. They probably didn’t hear me. They were low enough to scare my chicken**** cat.

    Comment by Enrique M — 7:00 pm May 19, 2011 #

  26. Isn’t this the 50th time this place has been robbed?

    Comment by johnnyblegs — 7:39 pm May 19, 2011 #

  27. I think you are right johnny.. seems like every bank between Morgan and Admiral has been robbed at least once in the last few years.

    Comment by Todd — 8:10 pm May 19, 2011 #

  28. Thanks to Chris for all the pictures. Good job Chris!

    Comment by wscarrier — 8:14 pm May 19, 2011 #

  29. Glad the good folks at Viking are all safe. Also glad they managed to get that die packet in the money bag! Well done.

    Comment by Yardvark — 8:31 pm May 19, 2011 #

  30. sounds like they got away… so far.

    Comment by mr. pink — 10:20 pm May 19, 2011 #

  31. Impressive coverage WSB! Pics and all!!!! What is it with West Seattle and bank robberies?

    Comment by sunnyday — 11:07 pm May 19, 2011 #

  32. WOW!! WHY THIS BANK?? THEY HAVE NO MONEY,
    YOU CAN’T GET A LOAN THERE,THEY HAVE NO MONEY.
    IT’S JUST A FRONT. IT’S JUST A ADVERTISEMENT
    THAT VIKING BANK IS IN WEST SEATTLE. OF COURSE
    IT’S MY OPINION, I COULD BE WRONG.>>> lol

    Comment by Cheri — 11:20 pm May 19, 2011 #

  33. Heard the helicopter, and went straight to the WSB page. I found out instantly what happened. You are amazing… Thanks for keeping us informed.
    I am a stay at home mom, alone with 2 kids (glad to know at a click of my finger if I need to lock us up in the house). :) THANKS

    Comment by Mindy Bowler — 11:26 pm May 19, 2011 #

  34. Is this the first time the Viking bank in WS has been robbed?

    Comment by Marcia — 8:59 am May 20, 2011 #

  35. Nope. Last year, for one example, they were held up June 1st as part of the so-called “Mrs. Doubtfire” spree.
    http://westseattleblog.com/2010/09/west-seattle-crime-watch-3-ws-heists-blamed-on-mrs-doubtfire
    .
    I have to look up whatever happened to the suspect arrested in January in connection with those cases … TR

    Comment by WSB — 9:15 am May 20, 2011 #

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