Bank robber’s demand note led cops to arrest

Robert Short allegedly passed note containing food stamp card number

By Shelby R. King / The Bulletin


Published May 7, 2014 at 12:01AM / Updated May 7, 2014 at 08:43AM

The handwritten note passed to a Home Federal Bank teller during a robbery two weeks ago told the teller to fork over the cash, but the information on the back told investigators much more.

Law enforcement at 12:46 p.m. on April 24 responded to a report of a bank robbery at the Home Federal Bank on Northeast Greenwood Avenue. The suspect ran away and officers were unable to locate him, but they did retrieve a black stocking hat that came off during a fight with a bank client following the robbery and a store receipt with a demand for money handwritten on the back that the suspect passed to a teller, according to an affidavit filed in Deschutes County Circuit Court by Bend Police Det. Jeff Frickey.

“The receipt was the bottom portion only and did not include the store’s name,” Frickey wrote. “It did include the last four numbers … of the ‘food stamps’ card (used) to make the purchase and the ending balance on the card.”

An investigation concluded the receipt came from Erickson’s Thriftway in Madras. Detectives were also able to determine by contacting the Oregon Department of Human Services that Robert Short, 54, was the card holder with that number.

Further investigation revealed Short has 36 arrests in Oregon, including six felony convictions, according to the affidavit. He also has 17 arrests in Washington, including one for a bank robbery in 1989.

Frickey wrote that, using an online search service, he was able to determine Short had pawned an item at a pawn shop in Redmond in January and provided the shop with a phone number. Frickey contacted the service provider to obtain latitude and longitude coordinates identifying the geographic location of the cellphone, according to the affidavit. The coordinates matched the location of Stillwater Campground on Oregon Highway 27 in Crook County.

Law enforcement officers found Short at the campground. He was arrested and transported to the Prineville Police Department for an interview, according to Frickey.

During the interview Short denied robbing a bank. When Frickey said he had a black stocking hat with Short’s DNA evidence in it, Short explained that a hitchhiker he’d recently driven to Redmond had probably stolen the hat.

“Short stated once they stopped in Redmond, Short went into a gas station to pay for the gas and the (hitchhiker) must have stolen a duffel bag from his vehicle that would have contained the stocking hat,” Frickey wrote. “I asked Short to describe the (hitchhiker) and Short stated that he looked just like Short. Short stated he was about the same age, build, hair and facial hair as Short.”

Short also denied using a receipt to demand cash, according to the affidavit, saying he never kept receipts and would have thrown it in the trash where anyone could have picked it up.

Short was arrested on suspicion of first-degree theft, second-degree robbery and harassment. He is being held without bail at the Deschutes County jail.

Short is set to enter a plea at 1:30 p.m. on May 27 in Deschutes County Circuit Court.

— Reporter: 541-383-0376, sking@bendbulletin.com