Tonight we know what police say happened inside the Junction Bank of America before they circulated a photo of, and arrested, a man they described as a bank-robbery suspect. That 61-year-old man has just been released from jail tonight on his own recognizance, as ordered at his bail hearing this afternoon, despite prosecutors’ request to set bail at $75,000. Here’s what the documents from that hearing say police were told happened just before 911 was called at 11:13 am Wednesday:
(A teller told police) the suspect entered the bank and approached his window. (The teller) noted the suspect’s appearance and the fact he was wearing a backpack which was placed in front of his chest, which caught his attention. He greeted the suspect and asked how he could assist. At this point the suspect reached in front of the backpack and handed a small bag and a note to the teller. The note handed to the teller read something to the effect, “Put large bills in the bag, quickly”.
(The teller) has been employed with Bank of America for approximately five years and has been a victim/witness in two prior bank robberies. Based on his knowledge and experience he quickly grabbed the bag and note. (The teller) stated he felt safety behind the bullet-proof teller window aka “Bandit Barrier.” (He) looked at the suspect and said, “Are you sure about this?” and the suspect replied, “Yes, put it in the bag”. At this point (the teller) activated the silent alarm and stepped away to inform co-workers of the situation.
(He) returned to the suspect to engage him in conversation to stall him leaving the bank. He felt the suspect caught on to his tactic and fled the bank without obtaining any money, also leaving the note and bag.
The documents have no mention of a weapon being shown or implied.
Responding officers quickly obtained the surveillance photo that SPD tweeted a short time later and circulated around SPD. Less than an hour after the robbery attempt, two Southwest Precinct officers who saw the photos spotted a man matching the description at Fauntleroy and Alaska, not far from the bank, and stopped him. The teller was brought to the scene and confirmed he recognized the man as the would-be robber. Police read him his Miranda rights and asked his name; he would not identify himself, the court documents say; officers took him to SPD headquarters downtown, fingerprinted him, and learned his name that way, just before 3 pm. The court documents do not mention any criminal record; we haven’t found one for the suspect in this state, just a Seattle traffic citation last year. He is due back in court Monday afternoon.