Man caught up in bank robbery action


"I thought I'd make a quick deposit at the bank prior to getting lunch this last Friday. After pulling into the Bank of America at Boones Ferry and Bryant Road in Lake Oswego, I got out of my car and started walking towards the bank. That's when I noticed a man walking out of the bank carrying a bag and wearing a motorcycle helmet with the tinted face shield down. He was walking towards a mini van, not a motorcycle. I'm thinking this must be a bank robbery. I quickly looked towards the bank to see what was going on inside. I saw a man who looked frazzled as he was locking the front door of the bank. Yup, it's a bank robbery. I looked back at the robber and he was now getting into the van about thirty feet away from me. I turned around and walked back to my car. As I got into my car, I looked back at the bank robber. He's now standing outside his van and looking at me. I quickly started up my car and left the area. I drove towards the back of the parking lot then pulled around into a parking space about 60 feet behind the bank robber's van. I thought I should get his license number or something. That's when I saw him walk over to an SUV that just pulled into the parking area that I had left. I saw the robber get in the SUV and it took off.

'I felt horrible. Because I got away, some other poor guy got car jacked. I thought if I could follow him at a safe distance, I could help the police catch the robber and save the guy who's now a hostage. The SUV pulled out of the parking lot and turned right onto Bryant Rd. I called 911 on my cell and I started to follow the SUV. By the time I got out of the parking lot there was a white gardener's pickup truck between the SUV and me. The pickup truck was driving very slowly. I'm not sure if he saw the bank robber with a gun and was trying to keep his distance or if he was driving slow because he was driving an old pickup truck. About one hundred yards down Bryant Road is Upper Drive. There's a stoplight at this intersection. The SUV turned right at Upper Drive. There was a red light when the white pickup truck in front of me got there. I couldn't go around the truck because of traffic. When the light finally turned green, the white pickup waited at least fifteen seconds with me honking my horn behind him before he decided to go. I wondered if he was part of the bank robber's team and was there to block anyone trying to follow. I was so focused on trying to catch up with the SUV, I didn't take down the pickup trucks license plate number. At some time during all of this the police answered my 911 call. I told them I was trying to follow the SUV that was car jacked. They told me the bank robbery had been called in and there were officers in the area looking for the SUV. I told them where I last saw the SUV. By the time I was able to turn right on Upper Road, the SUV was about one minute ahead of me. When I drove down the road I saw nothing. Upper Road is only about a half mile long then it connects with Boones Ferry. I realized when I got to Boones Ferry that I had lost the car. I drove around back to the bank to see if there were any police there yet. There were none. I decided to retrace my route to see if I missed anything. As I drove down Bryant Road, I saw a kid (about 18 years old) with a baseball cap on walking up Bryant towards the bank. He looked like the guy I saw in the SUV who got carjacked but I wasn't sure. I drove back down Upper Drive and saw nothing.

'At this point I figured there wasn't anything else I could do. The police had my number if they needed to ask any additional questions so I continued on with my lunch break. I stopped off at the Safeway down the street. I was going to get something healthy but I thought about how short life can be and the fact that mine could have ended 20 minutes earlier so I picked up a microwave pizza and headed back to my office. As I walked in the office (40 minutes after I left) one of my co workers asked me 'How was lunch?' I replied, 'It was OK. I couldn't get into the bank because it had just been robbed. The bank robber tried to carjack me but I got away. I tried to follow the robber when he carjacked someone else but he got away. Then I went to Safeway and got some pizza. How was your lunch?'

'I was very relieved later that day to learn that the bank robber was caught and the hostage was released unharmed. It turns out the kid I saw walking down the street probably was the hostage as he was let go within a few blocks of the bank and the money bag that the bank gave to the robber had a GPS tracking device in it which helped the police find the robber within an hour.

'What did I learn from this? I gotta get direct deposit.'

Kerry Simons is a Beaverton resident who works in Lake Oswego. Last Friday, he witnessed a bank robbery in Lake Oswego. He was almost the person carjacked and tried to follow the bank robber as he left the scene. He sent in this account of what he saw after speaking with Lake Oswego Police.