Suspect in custody in Bend bank robbery

Mitchell man arrested in Stayton on suspicion of Columbia Bank holdup

By Tyler Leeds / The Bulletin


Published Jun 16, 2014 at 07:36PM / Updated Jun 17, 2014 at 05:30AM

A hooded man walked away with an undisclosed amount of money from the Columbia Bank on Northeast Third Street in Bend on Monday morning. Before 4 p.m., he was in police custody.

According to a news release from Bend Police Lt. Nick Parker, Gary K. Peterson, 46 and of Mitchell, was arrested in Stayton, near Salem, on Monday afternoon by authorities there on suspicion of second-degree theft and third-degree robbery. He is expected to be transported back to Deschutes County.

Officers responded to the theft at 9:42 a.m., but the culprit had already fled on foot to the west. According to Parker, no weapons were observed during the crime and no one was injured. Parker said in a release the person demanded money but did not add whether he threatened anyone.

The crime remains under investigation by the Bend Police Department, the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office and the FBI. Three police dogs were used in the search for Peterson, although police believe Peterson left Bend in a 1995 black Jeep Grand Cherokee after he allegedly committed the robbery.

Recent robberies

The most recent bank robbery in Bend was at the Home Federal Bank on Northeast Greenwood Avenue in late April. Robert Short, 54, of Madras, was arrested on suspicion of the crime about a week after the incident after police found the last four numbers of his food stamps card on the back of a handwritten note he handed a teller during the robbery.

Home Federal’s downtown branch was robbed in December 2013 as well as in July and December 2012. A man also robbed a Bank of the Cascades branch near Wal-Mart in Bend in December 2011 and March 2012.

Police believe the four robberies from 2011 and 2012 were committed by the same person and have noted the description of the suspect from the December 2013 robbery is similar to that of the prior four.

Anyone who may have seen a 1995 black Jeep Grand Cherokee or a similar vehicle near Columbia Bank on Monday morning is asked to call 541-693-6911.

— Reporter: 541-633-2160, tleeds@bendbulletin.com