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10-01-08, 11:15 PM #1Master OfficerVerified LEO
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Robber may have fled by floating.
MONROE WA -- The shorts worn by the gardener first caught Mitch Ruth's attention.
"I thought I was the only idiot who sprays toxic chemicals in shorts," Ruth said.
Then Ruth watched in disbelief as a well-planned heist unfolded across the street in the parking lot of the Bank of America in Monroe.
The gardener turned out to be part of an elaborate armored truck robbery that led to a manhunt Tuesday along the banks of the Skykomish River. A Brinks security guard was maced in the holdup. A bag of cash and the robber disappeared.
The robber may have used an inner tube to float to a clean getaway, police said. He was seen running into the river toward the tube, about a quarter mile from the bank. Police later found the inner tube about 200 yards from where the man went into the water.
They believe the suspect was picked up by a waiting vehicle, Monroe police spokeswoman Debbie Willis said.
Ruth was on the phone just after 11 a.m. at his family's real estate office on Old Owen Road. He was absentmindedly watching the bank when he noticed a man wearing a surgical mask and gloves carrying a spray pump. Ruth thought maybe the guy was spraying chemicals on weeds outside the bank.
The man stepped from behind the bushes. He wore cutoff blue jeans.
"That's weird," Ruth thought.
Then things got weirder.
The man dropped the pump and made a beeline for an armored truck guard who was just leaving the bank.
"It was like a football scrimmage," Ruth said. "He ran right for him and was wrestling the guard for the money."
Ruth stood up from his desk.
"Gotta go. There's a bank robbery," he told the person on the other end of the phone. He scrambled to dial 911.
The robber pulled out a hairspray-can-sized bottle of mace and let loose. The spray created a 10- to 12-foot cloud.
"He got him solid in the face," said Ruth, a Monroe city councilman.
The robber bolted across the street, cash bag in hand.
Ruth ran out the back of the realty office, still talking to the 911 operator.
"I thought, 'There's nowhere for him to go,'" Ruth said. "I guess there was."
The man kept a grip on the money bag as he ripped off a baseball cap, wig and mask. Ruth, 51, yelled at him to stop. He ran after the thief.
"The mind was willing but, well, he was faster," said Ruth, who was wearing tasseled loafers on Tuesday.
Ruth lost sight of the man as he headed into Eagle Park on Woods Creek. The creek feeds into the Skykomish River.
Monroe police swarmed to different spots on the river. A police helicopter and a tracking dog joined in the search.
Police believe the man had a lookout at the bank. A witness reported seeing a man parked outside watching through binoculars.
"It appears to be very well-planned," Willis said.
The inner tube, found along the riverbank, was collected as evidence. Police believe it was part of the scheme, but on Tuesday weren't sure whether it was actually used in the getaway or just at the river as backup.
The security guard was treated by medics at the scene. His eyes were visibly red and swollen.
Crime-scene tape kept back onlookers and bank customers who were turned away for the day, as police collected evidence and spoke with witnesses.
Bob Smith of Monroe came to make a deposit at the bank. He grabbed his camera and snapped a few pictures of the action.
"Why would anyone rob a bank?" Smith said. "There's no money in banks these days."
Reporter Diana Hefley: 425-339-3463 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
© 2008The Daily Herald Co., Everett, WA
10-02-08, 12:12 AM #2
Doesn't the security guard carry a GUN????WTFYEAH, IM THE BERRIES, AND CHERRIES IN YOUR REAR VIEW MIRROR.
Handle every stressful situation like a dog.
Eat it, Play with it, or piss on it, and walk away!
As smart as man is, we haven't been able to invent a machine that can smell drugs or tell us where a person has walked,” Dogs are sophisticated investigative tools!
10-02-08, 06:18 PM #3
Armored truck robber uses Craigslist to make getaway
MONROE, Wash. -- In a move that could be right out of a Hollywood movie, a brazen crook apparently used a Craigslist ad to hire a dozen unsuspecting decoys to help him make his getaway following a robbery outside a bank on Tuesday. He then made his escape in an inner tube on the Skykomish River.
The robbery happened about 11 a.m. on an armored truck guard at a Bank of America branch.
"He was wearing a dust mask, a particle mask. At first I thought it might be a surgical mask. I still didn't think anything was wrong, just unusual. Then I noticed he had a pump sprayer," said Mitch Ruth, who had looked out his office window and noticed the man walking into the bank.
The robber sprayed the guard with pepper spray, grabbed a bag of money the guard was carrying and ran about 100 yards to the creek that runs into the Skykomish River, shedding clothes as he ran.
But apparently, the robber had planned ahead. In case anyone was hot on his trail, he had at least a dozen unsuspecting decoys waiting nearby, which he recruited on Craigslist.
"I came across the ad that was for a prevailing wage job for $28.50 an hour," said Mike, who saw a Craigslist ad last week looking for workers for a road maintenance project in Monroe.
He said he inquired and was e-mailed back with instructions to meet near the Bank of America in Monroe at 11 a.m. Tuesday. He also was told to wear certain work clothing.
"Yellow vest, safety goggles, a respirator mask … and, if possible, a blue shirt," he said.
Mike showed up along with about a dozen other men dressed like him, but there was no contractor and no road work to be done. He thought they had been stood up until he heard about the bank robbery and the suspect who wore the same attire.
From there, the cook made his watery escape in a creek that dumps out into the Skykomish River. One witness said the robber swam away, but another said he used an inner tube to get away.
"We did get an inner tube that was about 200 yards from the place where he entered the water and took that for evidence," said Debbie Willis, Monroe Police.
Investigators believe accomplices could have picked the robber up at a nearby boat launch or park.
The FBI is helping Monroe Police trace the ad and want to talk to anyone who responded.
"Any piece of information anyone has could be the piece of the puzzle we need to apprehend the suspects," said Debbie Willis, Monroe Police.
Some Monroe residents, while not endorsing what the robber did, are somewhat amused.
"Creative. Not a right way of doing it, but creative," said Monroe resident Byron Bevard.
"I grew up in LA and I never heard of anything so crazy in my life," said resident Sarah Vazquez.
The suspect is described as a white man in his 20s, between 5-foot-7 and 5-foot-10, wearing a dark blue shirt, jean shorts and a mask.
"A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself from within."
Since Jan. 2009
10-03-08, 02:02 AM #4
Pretty women make us BUY beer. Ugly women make us DRINK beer. --Al Bundy
10-03-08, 12:32 PM #5
8 or so miles from my home.
Didn't think they grew anyone that smart out there.I'm your huckleberry...
Quemadmoeum gladis nemeinum occidit, occidentus telum est!
You can be the weapon, and the gun in your hand is a tool - or the gun is a weapon and you are the tool.
I was looking for a saint who was a devil of a lover,
but every girl I found was either one way or the other...
10-03-08, 04:27 PM #6
Damn, I'm actually pretty impressed.Calm Like A Bomb...
“A pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. An optimist sees opportunity in every difficulty.”
10-03-08, 10:27 PM #7Master OfficerVerified LEO
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