Bank robber may have struck again

Man robbed Home Federal Bank in Bend Thursday

By Scott Hammers / The Bulletin

The Home Federal Bank in downtown Bend was robbed Thursday afternoon, the fourth in what police believe is a series of Bend bank robberies carried out by the same man.

Lt. Ben Gregory of the Bend Police Department said descriptions of the suspect match descriptions of the man who robbed the same branch of Home Federal Bank in July, and the Bank of the Cascades on U.S. Highway 97 near Walmart in March and last December.

Using surveillance video and witness statements from the three prior robberies, police have described the suspect as a heavyset man between 30 and 40 years old, and roughly 5 feet, 8 inches to 5 feet, 10 inches tall.

An association of Oregon banks and credit unions is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the suspect in those three robberies.

Police began arriving at Home Federal Bank at the corner of Franklin Avenue and Bond Street shortly after the robbery was reported at 4:44 p.m. Units from the Deschutes County Sheriff's Office were assisting Bend officers, Gregory said, and two Bend police dogs were in the area attempting to track the suspect.

Gregory said the suspect was last seen on foot, heading west from the bank.

As of Thursday evening, police had released few details of the incident.

Lt. Chris Carney said police were regarding it as an armed robbery, though he said he was uncertain if a weapon was displayed or implied by the suspect. No one inside the bank was injured, he said.

An hour after the robbery, Carney said officers were busy talking to employees of the bank and surrounding businesses looking for potential witnesses.

With help from the dogs, additional officers were searching a wide area around the bank, he said, to the west where the suspect was last seen heading, east to Third Street, and south to Arizona Avenue.

Carney said it was unclear if the dogs would be able to pick up the suspect's scent in the busy downtown area. Even if a dog could find the scent, following the trail to the suspect could be challenging.

“Just because you leave on foot doesn't mean you continue on foot, he could have had a car, a bike waiting,” he said.