Update: “Bearded” woman robs West Seattle bank – at drive-thru

(newest info at the bottom of the post)


(photos added 1:40 pm)
No further details yet, we are en route to check it out in person, but scanner traffic indicates another West Seattle bank robbery – this one time at WaMu in Westwood Village. (Thanks to CDN, who was listening to the scanner at a moment when we weren’t.) Scanner just bulletined they are looking for a Jeep Grand Cherokee, masked woman who said she had explosives on her body, plate similar to 197XOF, decal of a boxer dog on the window. Happened within the past 10 minutes or so. Call 911 if you see anything resembling the vehicle mentioned above. 1:08 PM UPDATE: We’re at the bank. Police confirm a robbery – at the drive-thru.


The bank has signs up saying “temporarily closed.” At least two police units on scene.


1:11 PM UPDATE: Latest scanner bulletin also mentions the robber claimed there were explosives in her vehicle. 1:22 PM UPDATE: We talked to a bank employee who said it happened pretty much right at 1 pm and only involved the robber and the drive-thru teller – everybody’s OK and most others in the bank didn’t even know what was going on until afterward – more police have arrived at the bank as have FBI agents. Investigators are going around that part of Westwood Village looking for witnesses.

3 PM UPDATE: The outdoor ATM’s are doing a lively business while the bank lobby remains closed. Police have cleared the scene. Here’s some video from earlier this afternoon. The gent in the checked shirt talking to the police is from the FBI.

5:21 PM UPDATE: Lt. Steve Paulsen at the Southwest Precinct just updated us: No arrest yet. The official description is “white female with a fake bearded … driving a large burgundy SUV.”

61 Replies to "Update: "Bearded" woman robs West Seattle bank - at drive-thru"

  • Will July 9, 2008 (1:03 pm)

    Listening to the scanner as well. They keep changing the description. Burgundy Yukon, now.

  • WSB July 9, 2008 (1:07 pm)

    And they’re chasing a report of a red Jeep on 509. So who knows. The Grand Cherokee was bulletined on multiple frequencies.

  • P July 9, 2008 (1:18 pm)

    ok, robbing a drive thru how dumb.
    That’s my bank and am there every day! Hope all my teller buddies are ok!

  • Delivery Dude July 9, 2008 (1:19 pm)

    A drive-thru robbery?? Lazy bandits!

  • Will July 9, 2008 (1:22 pm)

    Lazy but effective, I guess. So far, it sounds like she got away.

  • RobertSeattle July 9, 2008 (1:28 pm)

    Hopefully by now her car is full of red paint from the dye pack…

    Put the surveillance camera pictures on TV and she’ll be caught in an hour.

  • Irukandji July 9, 2008 (1:28 pm)

    WaMu…. Woo Hoo!

  • Will July 9, 2008 (1:33 pm)

    Apparently, the window she went to doesn’t have a camera. But somebody for SURE knows a large SUV with a dog sticker on the driver’s side window.

  • mellaw6565 July 9, 2008 (1:41 pm)

    She was behind me in the drive-thru; I also drive a red jeep and noticed her vehicle as I pulled out of the drive-thru. Guess I got out of there just in time.

    P.s. – Police officers outside the bank were very rude to people waiting outside. I realize that the bank had just been robbed, but there was no threat to public safety at that point and citizens were just being concerned – how about a little better attitude SPD?

  • BeachBum July 9, 2008 (2:08 pm)

    This does not sound like your typical bank robber. I grant you most criminals don’t take up a life of crime because NASA wasn’t hiring this week, but this one sounds extra goofy. With prices going up, house values going down, and the economy kind of stagnant, if we’re going to see more of this sort of thing. I think there are a lot of people who are getting so desparate that they’re being pushed over the brink.

    I know a fellow who’s being foreclosed on his home, is on the hook for a home equity loan and a car loan, has no health insurance and working a barely minumum-wage job to try to at least earn some money for food. I think there are a lot more folks like him who are on the ropes and are going to find nowhere else to turn. At least in jail you get 3 meals a day and health care.

  • mellaw6565 July 9, 2008 (2:37 pm)

    Yeah I agree – this is just the tip of the iceberg. People are getting desperate and there is no relief in sight from our government.

  • Anne July 9, 2008 (2:54 pm)

    Yeah SPD have a “better attitude”” for pete’s sake!Really-it’s been a whole-what 45 min-1 hour & you know for SURE that ther’s no more threat to public safety-so get a better attitude!Wait I have a better idea-mellaw6565-why don’t YOU become a police officer-then you can show us all a “better attitude”.Sheesh!!!!

  • Kristen P July 9, 2008 (2:58 pm)

    OMG, that is insane. I work here in Westwood and I didn’t even know anything was going down… stop the madness!!

    I can’t believe people rob banks via the drive thru. “Yeah, I’ll have a double cheeseburger, a Diet Coke, one of them snack wrap things… oh yeah, and gimme all your money. And super size it.” Ridiculous.

  • Christopher Boffoli July 9, 2008 (3:01 pm)

    Since West Seattle is becoming a bank heist mecca, maybe someone can modify the Hotwire outside movie series to include topical bank robbery films like The Getaway, Dog Day Afternoon, Killing Zoe, Inside Man and Heat.

  • Westwood Resident July 9, 2008 (3:02 pm)

    Yeah I agree – this is just the tip of the iceberg. People are getting desperate and there is no relief in sight from our government.

    Why is it up the the Gov’t to provide relief???

  • mellaw6565 July 9, 2008 (3:04 pm)

    Excuse me Anne – but you weren’t there and don’t know the circumstances behind my rant. Other people standing outside also had comments about their rudeness. And yes, it was established at that point that there was no threat on-site; the bank manager told us that. So what’s your problem?

  • mellaw6565 July 9, 2008 (3:11 pm)

    Westwood – the government is not doing anything to address high fuel prices, employment or affordable housing. That is the function of government. My point was that this is a sign of how difficult it has become for people and that they will stoop to anything to get relief. I’m not justifying the robbery – just making a social comment.

  • fiz July 9, 2008 (3:25 pm)

    “I know a fellow who’s being foreclosed on his home, is on the hook for a home equity loan and a car loan, has no health insurance and working a barely minumum-wage job to try to at least earn some money for food.’ ~~ BeachBum

    Who was this guy’s financial advisor?

  • mellaw6565 July 9, 2008 (3:28 pm)

    Financial advisors are for people who can afford them.

  • rjb July 9, 2008 (3:29 pm)

    As an ex-teller, it’s taking everything in me to not laugh at the fact that this worked. You let them rob you at the drive-thru? For real? Wow. That’s just super bad. We used to joke about drive-thru robbers.
    Please tell me I interpreted an ealier post that said this actually worked.

  • woof July 9, 2008 (3:38 pm)

    Hey lets be real it isnt the great depression and the good people in the world even those down onad out do not go around robbing banks or mugging people. This country has only recently entered hard times and compared to other nations even the poor folk here are well off…..driving bling cars, tv, cell phones ect. Americans need to stop consuming beyond their means in the good and bad times . No excuse for behavior that is criminal. This country has for too long made excuses for that type of thing. It is wrong no matter what!

  • mellaw6565 July 9, 2008 (3:39 pm)

    rjb – don’t the drive-thru’s have bullet-proof glass? If so, why didn’t the teller just close the drawer and walk away? I’m curious – what is the training for tellers when this occurs at drive-thrus?

  • 140.6 July 9, 2008 (3:39 pm)

    Mellaw6565, Money is tight around my home too but I’m nowhere near the point where I would threaten to blow up my local bank or wave a gun around for a few thousand dollars out of the teller’s drawer. Sorry for the sarcasm but I think we have a much longer way to go before rational people begin taking what doesn’t belong to us by force so that we can put fuel in our cars.

    PS. I also respectfully disagree about your belief in the function of government.

  • mellaw6565 July 9, 2008 (3:43 pm)

    I never justified the robbery – please re-read my OP before you criticize or give sarcasm. As for the belief in government – I’m a civics teacher. Perhaps you should re-read the preamble to the Constitution.

  • m July 9, 2008 (3:58 pm)

    it was the government’s grand idea to let people buy homes they couldn’t afford because they wanted lower income groups to be homeowners, so the govt’ should have some responsibility here to fix the mess they helped to create. Also, it is certainly within the fedral government’s abilities to create regulation for the oil industry and/or trade markets so that oil prices do not continue to sky rocket because of speculation.

    I also studied sociology in college and do remember there is a clear link to economic hard times and an increase in crime.

  • Anne July 9, 2008 (4:02 pm)

    mellaw6565-My problem with you-is that less than an hour after this happened you’re criticizing SPD’s attitude.1 hour into a bank robbery investigation is not always enough to say there is absolutely no danger to the public and the bank manager is not the police.How about we leave the investigating & the way they do it to the professionals-especially after such a short time span.Wasn’t it just a week ago that another WS bank was robbed & it ended with guns being fired.
    Maybe they just wanted to be SURE there was no longer any danger-I guess I’m willing to cut them some slack in attitude.

  • Westwood Resident July 9, 2008 (4:07 pm)

    That is the function of government.
    Maybe in a dictatorship, socialist or communist type of Gov’t it is. But we don’t live in that type of Gov’t. We live in a Representative Republic.
    The function of Gov’t is
    1. To protect the country from outside aggression.
    2. To protect our rights as delineated in the Bill of Rights.
    It IS NOT up to the Gov’t to take care of us.
    You mention high fuel prices, just what is the gov’t supposed to do about them. Oil prices are NOT set by the US, they are determined by the demand in the world.
    But I am glad that you think they can do something about it. I gather you support drilling in ANWR, along both coasts, in the Gulf of Mexico and in the interior of the US so that we can make use of OUR own oil, along with the construction of nuke power plants???

  • mellaw6565 July 9, 2008 (4:42 pm)

    Wow Westwood – why so angry? If you would like to debate this, I’d be happy to in a respectful way.

    First, I don’t support drilling in any of the areas mentioned or nuclear power. I happen to support and have actively campaigned for alternative fuel sources – right now I am fully in support of the T. Boone Pickens proposal for wind turbines and also hydrogen fuel cell cars (the first of which is becoming commercially available next year in California)

    Second, the government has a lot to do with oil prices. Especially with the huge tax breaks and subsidies that it gives to oil companies that make billions in profits every quarter – at our expense. The government is also the leader in energy policy and has abrogated its’ responsibilities.

    Third, read the preamble to the Constitution where it specifies the duties of government – one of those is to “provide for the general welfare”. Only one of the functions that you mention above is in the Constitution. The Bill of Rights was an afterthought.

    Fourth – this thread was about bank robbery and how it may be a sign of the times for some people who are desperate and feel that it is their only option. I absolutely disagree with their choice to rob a bank, but I understand the frustration that is brewing out there and feel sympathetic to those that are experiencing such hardship. Nothing more than that.

  • mellaw6565 July 9, 2008 (4:46 pm)

    Anne – as I said before – you weren’t there. Don’t second guess someone’s reactioin to a situation that you didn’t experience or witness. I wasn’t the only one that felt that the SPD were unnecessarily rude to those of us that witnessed the event. Being an SPD officer involves working with the community in a respectful fashion. A little civility was all that was needed – and frankly expected from a professional trained to deal with these situations.

    And trust me – it was all over with at the time. I know because the robber was behind me in the drive-thru.

  • WSB July 9, 2008 (5:24 pm)

    Just posted updated info. No arrest yet. Robber was a white female, wearing a fake beard. Large burgundy SUV.

  • mellaw6565 July 9, 2008 (5:31 pm)

    Thanks WSB for keeping us posted – this robbery is just weird from the get-go!

  • beachdrivegirl July 9, 2008 (6:30 pm)

    Woof you are so dead on about people over spending their means…

  • Boh July 9, 2008 (6:43 pm)

    I blame SUV’s, plastic bags and beach fires… come on!

  • Wombat July 9, 2008 (8:36 pm)

    I Like Turtles

  • scian July 9, 2008 (8:49 pm)

    mellaw6565 –
    Westwood Resident said it best and first so I’ll spare all…. except to add that 6565, you may want to either travel a bit in the world, say to somewhere outside of Western Civ or even say someplace like France or Spain… OR simply head to the library but either way get a perspective grounded in history and economics. Socialism is only a pipe dream in this country, thankfully, and for the time being we’ll prefer big daddy gubmint to move in the direction of less. LESS intervention, less spending, less touchpoints overall with you and me and the others.
    …EXCEPT to wrangle those criminal idiots who would rob from us and or threaten explosion at a drive through. How many faults can we all find with this thinking? And none of it has to do with Uncle Sam’s handouts….

  • Big Wave Dave July 9, 2008 (9:13 pm)

    Turtles like you too.

    As for 2nd guessing the police or trying to understand a strong-arm criminal, we don’t know the full circumstance of why the police were irritable (a tip-off of another try nearby?) but we know already we shouldn’t give too much attention to why this robber robbed. He/she doesn’t need our sympathy but instead a full introduction to our criminal justice system and a fair trial. Thank you WSB for your great coverage of this event.

  • CB July 9, 2008 (9:15 pm)

    Given the negative response to the new jail, the perpetrator must have figured bank robbery was decriminalized.

  • CMP July 9, 2008 (9:17 pm)

    It shouldn’t be the government’s job to bail people out of their poor financial decisions. I go without a lot of fancy things so I can have a lot of money in the bank. I don’t believe BeachBum’s pal deserves a help from my tax dollars b/c he has to have all of that stuff. If Americans would live within their means, we wouldn’t be in as much of a predicament.

  • Alison July 9, 2008 (10:32 pm)

    I really think there should be more concern as to why the government isn’t taking care of unemployed circus performers. Maybe the circus used the bearded lady until somebody with a longer beard came along and then they just kicked her to the curb. How is she supposed to feed her three headed baby and the dog-faced boy, hmmmmm?
    Oh the humanity!!!

  • white center resident July 10, 2008 (7:26 am)

    I work in Westwood and when someone mentioned it I kind of laughed and rolled my eyes. That location used to get robbed weekly, if not monthly, until they started posting FBI in the front most of the time. It’ been robbed by a child. Just another day in the neighborhood.

  • Bob Loblaw July 10, 2008 (9:52 am)

    That looks like “gub”

  • HP July 10, 2008 (10:59 am)

    OK so a bank gets robbed, police come, police are doing police work, why is anyone even close to the bank or the police at that point, then you criticize their manners, I’m sorry but less than one hour after a bank robbery\bomb threat the police do not have to be concerned with how the people lurking around may feel they are trying to establish safety. Which is their job, mellaw would you like a police officer to come to your place of employment and randomly start to critique how you do your job? also you said you were in line in the drive thru in front of the suspect so why were you still there an hour later after doing your banking? this may be the source of the tone of the officer if you and others were just hanging out to see what was going on basically being nosy. I say move on and let them do their job. And for anyone who had not yet done their banking the white center wamu is about a mile away.

  • mellaw6565 July 10, 2008 (11:07 am)

    HP – I wasn’t “hanging around” – As a witness I was part of what happened. Save your comments for things that you witness – ok? Don’t assume – we all know what happens when you do that. My comments about police civility stand.

  • beachdrivegirl July 10, 2008 (11:27 am)

    Out of curiousity mellaw6565 how did you know the bank had been robbed to go back to the bank? If I am in the drive thru of a bank line once I am done with my banking I leave….

  • HP July 10, 2008 (11:40 am)

    i second that bdg, and mellaw I am not assuming anything I am stating my opinion based on things you said. My comments stand as well. Let the police do their job.

  • mellaw6565 July 10, 2008 (11:53 am)

    BDG – I forgot to get a money order and I turned around to go back. Do you want to know my schedule for the rest of the day too? Geez….

  • beachdrivegirl July 10, 2008 (1:00 pm)

    I dont need your schedule. I was just curious. And HP I agree with you, people need to just let the police do their job, i probably wouldnt be in the friendliest mood either if I was dealing with a bank robbery situation…for some odd reason just seems a bit tough to keep a “smiling” face.

  • rjb July 10, 2008 (1:28 pm)

    Another thing, tellers aren’t allowed to keep more than $1000 in their drawers at a time (at least when I was one). So that’s the most a robber can get. May as well rob a restaurant or business, they get as much, without it being a federal offense.
    When I worked for the bank, the windows weren’t bullet proof, but there was a screen that could be pulled down that was. That was for our company at least, and may have changed since then. And in our training, were told if someone did rob you at the drive through, you could turn off the system so they couldn’t put a bomb in the chute or antyhing. You pull down the screen, hit the alarm. Every other kind of robbery you are told to give them whatever they want.
    Still can’t believe this worked. Robbery training must really be going downhill these days.

  • 140.6 July 10, 2008 (5:12 pm)

    “Yeah I agree – this is just the tip of the iceberg. People are getting desperate and there is no relief in sight from our government.”


    Perhaps it is YOU that should reread your post. I’ve included it for your review. While you can say that you didn’t justify the robbery, your words don’t reflect that. You have clearly drawn a causal relationship between our current economic condition and people being willing to commit robbery.

    Second, I am somewhat famliar with the US Constitution. Unfortunately, I didn’t realize that it was your interpretation that I needed to be familiar with.

  • mellaw6565 July 10, 2008 (5:16 pm)

    Scian – I have traveled more places in the world than you could EVER imagine and seen more poverty than you could stomach. I’m not espousing socialism – once again – read the Constitution and its’ purposes. Are you suggesting that the Preamble is socialism? Plz….. educate yourself before responding.

  • JH July 10, 2008 (9:37 pm)

    Oh, some of these posts are soooo boring. What happened to all the fun? Last week’s bank robbery posts were a hoot. Let’s just make fun of the dumb chick with the beard already.

  • JH July 10, 2008 (10:51 pm)

    Hey Mellaw, there’s no way you got your money order. The bank was robbed after you allegedly drove thru. They would have shut down all business after that. Not sure how you got back to the bank. Hmmm, I smell a lurker/gawker…and if you were such a witness, I really doubt the cops would have been rude to you. You would have been interviewed separately. Just out of curiosity, what FBI agent did you speak with?

    So back to the lady with the beard…what was she thinking? She’s obviously connected to the man in the black dress! They got their outfits all mixed up.

  • mellaw6565 July 11, 2008 (8:00 am)

    JH – you’re right. I didn’t get my money order. I got interviewed by the FBI/police instead. Again, you weren’t there. Why the hostility towards me? All I commented on was an issue about civility – nothing more.

  • mellaw6565 July 11, 2008 (8:00 am)

    JH – you’re right. I didn’t get my money order. I got interviewed by the FBI/police instead. Again, you weren’t there. Why the hostility towards me? All I commented on was an issue about civility – nothing more.

  • HP July 11, 2008 (10:26 am)

    Regardless if we were or werent there mellaw you are insulting the very ones all of us call in an emergency, i dont know about you but I was raised to respect my elders and anyone in uniform the police put their lives on the line every time they put on that uniform and for who? for all of us, this is why I take offense to your comment and I am sure others feel that way too. The police were doing their job if you did not like how they were doing it walk away. But you cant expect to attack them openly on the blog and not get some negative response to your comment, you said “citizens were just being concerned” that appears they were concerned about what was going on some may see that as looky lou rather than being concerned for their own safety. Which if I was a police officer and I was more concerned for the public safety than the people standing around I would be irritated also. And you said there was no threat to public safety again you are not the one in charge of determining that, the police are. And a big huge thank you to all the men and women who put those uniforms on every day police firefighters and medics.

  • mellaw6565 July 11, 2008 (10:32 am)

    HP – Police officers aren’t immune to bad contact anymore than any other profession. As professionals, they are trained to deal with the public in a civil manner. As someone who was there and interacted with the police and FBI, I felt that the SPD officers that were there initially were ruder than was called for. Again, I wasn’t the only one there that felt that way. And no, I couldn’t walk away. I was a witness and was detained for that purpose.
    If you feel insulted, that’s not my problem. I wasn’t talking about you. They are public servants and should act with an attitude that reflects that when dealing with the public. IMO that was not done here. I didn’t criticize all officials, just the two that I initially alluded to in my OP.

  • mellaw6565 July 11, 2008 (10:33 am)

    Sorry, I meant to say bad “conduct”

  • HP July 11, 2008 (11:50 pm)

    i wonder if in their training for bomb threat/bank robbery the instructor says “and officers make sure you are polite to all the people standing around the scene after it happens” because you must at all times deal with the public in a civil manor. probably not….mellaw try to put yourself in their shoes, what do you think should have been priority number one less than one hour after a bomb threat? ensuring public safety has my vote. And the robbery came over the scanner at 1:01 and by 1:41 you had made it home to post on the blog so we are talking a half hour or less after the incident, you are making judgement on the officers conduct, in my opinion it is you who is out of line. And I dont mean to be negative at all just realistic.

  • WSB July 11, 2008 (11:56 pm)

    You know, we can all debate what ‘civil’ means and whether Mellaw has a beef or not, but the only people who know for sure are those who were there. I would suggest talking directly to a supervisor at the Southwest Precinct to lodge a complaint if you feel it is merited, if you have not already. The folks I deal with there are extremely mindful of their dealings with the public and have in fact taken action on numerous complaints and concerns, when they surface repeatedly. Their nonemergency number is the place to start – it’s on the Crime Watch page in the text box on the left side toward the beginning – 625-5011. Since this happened in the early afternoon you would probably do best to call during the daytime to reach someone who would be a supervisor of the officer(s) who were in the field that day.

  • HP July 12, 2008 (11:15 am)

    TR, You are ever the voice of reason, facts and course of action to take,:) you rock!!!

  • JH July 14, 2008 (10:15 am)

    Interesting fact on the timing of Mellaw’s posting! Good catch HP! Do you know what time the police responded? This is all so silly. Mellaw, I’m not the only “hostile” one. And I’m not even hostile. Just defending the law enforcement commmunity like several others are. Who cares if they were rude or not? They were dealing with a bank robbery a week after a bank robber was shot. They were on alert. Give them a break. I still don’t buy your story and am not the only one, but enough already! I can easily disprove it, but would look like a fool. And I really don’t care! But remember, there are two sides to every story.

    Time to find some humor…please tell me you do’t teach at WSHS. I’ll remember to have my child NOT sign up for your class!

Sorry, comment time is over.