Update: Washington Federal robbed in Morgan Junction; van impounded

March 16, 2012 at 3:03 pm | In Crime, West Seattle news, West Seattle police | 44 Comments

(Thanks to Anthony for the photo)
3:03 PM: Police are looking for a bank robber after a holdup at Washington Federal Savings at California and Fauntleroy. Only description so far: Black man in his 20s, “tightly pulled hoodie.” The bank is closed for a while as investigators work.

4:35 PM UPDATE: Commenters asked about past robberies. Our archives indicate this bank was held up last October. The suspects were arrested five days later. We lost track of that case, so we don’t know their current status.

9:50 PM UPDATE: We have some additional information, from Southwest Precinct Lt. Ron Smith responding to our inquiry. He says the robber “presented a note to the teller” and got away with “an undisclosed amount of cash.” We also asked him about a van that we photographed in the West Seattle Thriftway parking lot across the street, being guarded by multiple officers:

Lt. Smith says they were tipped to the van when “witnesses contacted officers and advised that they had seen a suspicious male leave a vehicle in the lot. Their description closely matched that of the suspect. The vehicle was impounded to SPD Processing. The suspect has not been located.”

SATURDAY AFTERNOON UPDATE: SPDBlotter just published a short item about the robbery, but the only thing it mentions that we didn’t already report here is a bit more descriptive info about the robber: “black male, 40 years of age, last seen wearing a blue hooded jacket under a dark blue jacket, and khaki pants.”

P.S. THANK YOU to the WSB’ers whose texts/phone calls were our first word about the robbery shortly after it happened on Friday afternoon. We are not always in earshot of the scanner and your tips help immensely, so we can get out the info and get busy finding out more. (206-293-6302, voice or text, any time, day or night, weekday or weekend.)

44 Comments

  1. Again! I live just down the block. There are 5-6 cop cars in the area, searching the streets & alley in the area. What is it with the Morgan Junction of late? Murders, robberies… I think maybe it’s time to move.

    Comment by Terri — 3:07 pm March 16, 2012 #

  2. Didn’t that bank just get robbed recently

    Comment by Me — 3:18 pm March 16, 2012 #

  3. I just witnessed this from my window. The cops screamed ” Get down on the ground,” their weapons pulled. The man got pulled down, He was wearing a black hoodie. And carrying a backpack.

    Within seconds the street was swarmed with three cop cars an the man was put in cuffs. I have a picture that I capture on my phone but nOt sure who to send it to.

    Comment by HT — 3:27 pm March 16, 2012 #

  4. HT the blog contact page should tell you. That would be an interesting pic to see.

    Comment by resident3 — 3:36 pm March 16, 2012 #

  5. Our little neck of the woods is getting that “big city” feel by the minute. I still loves me some WS, but between the robberies, shootings/killings and now a throat slashing, I am not letting my guard down. Recognizing there are some really bad people among us is the first step. Stay safe peeps!

    Comment by chuck and Sally's Van Man — 3:51 pm March 16, 2012 #

  6. Throat slashing?

    Comment by 9 — 3:51 pm March 16, 2012 #

  7. Drove by ealier and saw the police and who I believe was the suspect sitting outside the sub shop. Good thing I was on my way to the doctor to refill my meds. Seriously, I am feeling for the neighbors and folks who work at these places …

    Comment by heylady — 3:53 pm March 16, 2012 #

  8. They have not apprehended the individual. Please be careful out there folks!!

    Comment by thriftwaygirl — 3:58 pm March 16, 2012 #

  9. What sets areas of this city apart from others? What makes one area more crime intensive than the another? Why are buses in some areas graffiti free while others are not? Why do some people walk their dogs and children fearlessly, smile and say hello, when others don’t?

    Comment by WTF — 4:01 pm March 16, 2012 #

  10. There was a possible suspect stopped but NOT who they were looking for, according to scanner traffic.
    .
    Re: the “slashing” comment. That would be a reference to the Beach Drive murder. The cause of death was reported by ONE tv station in their video script and they didn’t even repeat it in their online text; the SPD media office, which is the only official source of information on this case from yesterday forward, says it didn’t come from them (the exact Q13 line was “police say”). May be true, may not. I’m not going with it until and unless it comes from a reliable source; been burned way too many times by other media being wrong (and seen other media get the facts wrong on stories we also covered in which we know what’s accurate and what’s not). – TR

    Comment by WSB — 4:04 pm March 16, 2012 #

  11. what’s your point WTF?

    Comment by DO — 4:06 pm March 16, 2012 #

  12. Just to clarify, the young fellow with the back pack was NOT the perpetrator, he was just an innocent bystander walking home from his job. He cooperated and was released by the police. As you can imagine, he was pretty shook up and so I took him into our shop, gave him a glass of water, and then our landlord gave him a lift home. The police came by on their canvass a bit later still looking for the real culprit.

    Comment by tomdist — 4:07 pm March 16, 2012 #

  13. @DO, why don’t you try to answer the questions?

    Comment by WTF — 4:21 pm March 16, 2012 #

  14. I’m just curious as to why you’re asking them… kind of random. Especially the bus/graffiti question and the “smile and say hello” question.

    Comment by DO — 4:27 pm March 16, 2012 #

  15. My wife was in the bank when the whole thing went down. Very scary moments. The staff locked the bank after the suspect left. She happened to see a patrol car nearby and notified the staff so they can let him/her know.

    Comment by FTal — 4:30 pm March 16, 2012 #

  16. Crazy. The Morgan Junction has definitely seen it’s share of action the last couple of months. I was driving past there about 2:45 on my way to pick my daughter up from school and saw a police officer and a woman running down the middle of the road and wondered what was up.
    All things considered, I still feel very safe in WS. You have to be alert and aware no matter where you live.
    I hope they catch the perp soon and the neighborhood can feel at ease again.

    Comment by Maighdlin — 4:37 pm March 16, 2012 #

  17. Which president robbed the bank this time?

    Comment by Christopher Boffoli — 4:39 pm March 16, 2012 #

  18. A family member of mine works 1 block away at O’Neil Plumbing, she said the police tackled a guy at the bus stop who fit the description of the suspect, questioned him on the bench at the sub shop, and let him go. Not the guy who robbed the bank. So suspect still at large.

    Comment by Nick — 4:47 pm March 16, 2012 #

  19. west seattle is definitely the easiest place to rob a bank a get away with it. Have they ever caught anyone?

    Comment by W.S. maverick — 5:28 pm March 16, 2012 #

  20. What color hoodie was the robber wearing? A young black guy with large white hoodie has been walking around that area before and after the robbery

    Comment by KW — 5:29 pm March 16, 2012 #

  21. I’m all for free speech but why does that comment stand, WSB? I don’t see any relevance at all to this incident. Just seems crass and attention seeking!!

    Comment by i'mcoveredinbees — 6:27 pm March 16, 2012 #

  22. WSB should talk to folks at Thriftway, they have the scoop on the suspects van and his behavior before the robbery.

    Comment by thistle stair — 6:46 pm March 16, 2012 #

  23. That poor bank has been robbed several times in the last several years and it seems no matter what changes they make to make it safer it still gets victimized by robbery. I think it is location for get away. I have witnessed several of the incidents from across the street over the years.

    Comment by stefano — 6:50 pm March 16, 2012 #

  24. Time to get a gun!

    Comment by MP — 7:35 pm March 16, 2012 #

  25. MP, Unless you own a bank or are a security guard at a bank the chances are pretty slim that a gun will protect YOU from a BANK ROBBERY. Even then it’s better to let them have the money as you have no idea what drugs they are on or what they’re packing. I’m more worried about fools packing guns than I am about bank robbers.

    Comment by 2 Much Whine — 8:39 pm March 16, 2012 #

  26. I agree with “2 Much Whine” – we don’t need a bunch of vigilantes running around with guns shooting innocent people like the tragedy in Florida (Trayvon Martin).

    Comment by Curiouser — 9:25 pm March 16, 2012 #

  27. Thistle Stair – I’ve been offline a couple hours. We photographed the van at 4:30 pm because of scanner traffic about it – but it took a while longer before police confirmed to us that it was believed to be related (the officers on scene said we had to talk with someone higher up the chain, which is usually the case, and thanks to Lt. Smith for subsequently replying). So I have added the photo of the van now along with a bit more information. – TR

    Comment by WSB — 10:08 pm March 16, 2012 #

  28. Our Morgan Street Junction now has a street named “Beverage Place” and a new park right next to it where my wife and I see people drinking beverages. Has this become a magnet area for street people? We had a van parked in front of our house and we live in a “Crime Watch” neighborhood…we see anything suspicious & we call the police!! We called about the van & were told that people are allowed to sleep in their vans on the streets of Seattle. There was some irritation in the 911 operators voice. Could be we have become so easy going about these things, it might or is coming back to bite us.

    Comment by ALLEN — 8:01 am March 17, 2012 #

  29. time to get a gun, west seattle isn’t as safe as days past, white center is slowly drifting down this way

    Comment by W.S. maverick — 8:21 am March 17, 2012 #

  30. Oh yes, because ALL crime is initiated, born, whatever in WC. Give me a break. There is not once source for these issues- painting a simplistic picture of crime doesn’t make unraveling what happens and how to prevent/minimize reoccurrences happen.

    Comment by Lachlan — 8:48 am March 17, 2012 #

  31. Why do so many people insist on armchair editing? Do you have any idea about running a 24/7 news source?? I am guessing not. You get to read this for free!! I am also guessing none of you critics pay ad dollars or send money to TR as a donation to the wsb ?? Try thanking the editor rather than criticizing her. Can you imagine life without the WSB??? Thank you for providing our community such an amazing resource tr and patrick!! And thank you jmot for sharing them with all of us!!!!

    Comment by Cclarue — 9:07 am March 17, 2012 #

  32. I agree with Cclarue!
    The West Seattle Blog has grown into the fabric of West Seattle… It took some years of no sleep & lots of going here and there but they have succeeded! Thank You!

    Comment by ALLEN — 9:22 am March 17, 2012 #

  33. @2 Much Wine, there have been lots of cases where responsible gun owners have saved lives as well as their own. A robbers biggest fear prior to getting caught by police is getting shot by a responsible civilian.

    Comment by operator — 10:34 am March 17, 2012 #

  34. cmon Operator, get real. They do not fear getting shot by a citizen otherwise they wouldn’t be ROBBING A BANK. They think they won’t get caught or shot or they wouldn’t do it.

    Comment by 2 Much Whine — 12:02 pm March 17, 2012 #

  35. @tomdist Thank you for taking care of the innocent person the police “took down.”

    Comment by soosan — 12:44 pm March 17, 2012 #

  36. i find it funny that the people think that someone robbing a bank or a house fears getting shot by anyone. most are not even thinking about that type of thing i’d bet. true some people have saved the day so to say yet many others have had the gun taken away from them and had it used on them too.

    Comment by michael — 1:02 pm March 17, 2012 #

  37. I dont see why people are freaking out. Banks get robbed all the time and the robbers always get caught eventually. I dont plan to move anytime soon I have had my car broken into 3 times in ws twice within the last 6 months and thats part of life there will always be scumbags. The world is a dangerous place whether its the city or the middle of the woods just have as much fun as you can because we are all going to die someday.

    Comment by Zach — 11:22 pm March 17, 2012 #

  38. The Thriftway employees said a guy matching the suspects description returned to pick up the van that had been towed. They kept him busy while they called the cops.he was taken away….case closed? or mistaken identity?

    Comment by thistle stair — 9:52 am March 18, 2012 #

  39. Yes, we have heard that from multiple people, but we have no idea whether he was a suspect or innocent bystander and police won’t be able to answer that for us till Monday. Jail register did not yield anybody booked for robbery in the applicable time frame, but that doesn’t necessarily rule it out. – TR

    Comment by WSB — 10:06 am March 18, 2012 #

  40. WSB,I love you guys. If a tree falls in west Seattle and no one hears it, it will still make a noise on the WSB.

    Comment by thistle stair — 1:46 pm March 18, 2012 #

  41. Black man in a hoodie? Come on cops, you can do better than that.

    I drove by while this innocent man – sitting at the bus stop minding his business – was being held down by the cops and handcuffed. Just because he was a black guy with a hoodie.

    Now, I am a white female but know this type of thing happens a lot more often to black men.

    Nonetheless, I have been arrested for a crime I did not commit, and was subsequently let go, like this person. It’s scary and intimidating.

    Why implicate just about every black guy within a 1000 foot radius of the bank?

    What would you think of releasing a description “White guy in a hoodie”. How many people would you have to arrest? At least half the white guys around.

    At least tell us a little more about the suspect, I think this description is weak and there is surely more.

    Comment by Lolo — 6:49 am March 19, 2012 #

  42. I don’t agree with what you are stating Lolo.

    The fact is that the bank was robbed by an african american wearing a dark hoodie a block away. I think that if it was robbed by a “white guy” in a dark hoodie and there was a guy matching that discription in the same place, he too would have been taken down and searched.

    I don’t always agree with Seattle Police actions but I doubt this had anything to do with race. It was a in-progress bank robbery investigation.

    Comment by Jay — 9:30 am March 19, 2012 #

  43. We’ve had this discussion here countless times. Whatever fragment of descriptive information is available, we will publish. The police in turn get it from witnesses. They actually have provided coaching on how to describe a suspect – in hopes that people will notice more details – but the adrenaline jolt of fear that is understandable if you are suddenly confronted with a robber or other criminal, sometimes leaves people unable to remember everything. … TR

    Comment by WSB — 10:53 am March 19, 2012 #

  44. I think its appropriate for the WSB to reprint police information on suspects. I also think race-identifying information is critical.

    I would like to also clarify that it is the cops I find irresponsible here (not racist necessarily). The description, “Black man in hoodie” is akin to releasing description, “Black man.” And then acting on it compounds their confusion, by arresting any black man nearby, which is basically what they did. If he was wearing a hoodie then surely they knew the color from the tellers. Fear doesn’t make you color blind. Even “dark hoodie” would have been a lot better!

    Also, waiting for the bus as a getaway car. I suppose it’s been done ????

    Comment by Lolo — 10:34 am March 20, 2012 #

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