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Vancouver man sentenced in 2009 robbery of Chase Bank

A Vancouver, Wash., man was sentenced Friday to 151 months in prison for robbing a Chase Bank in a Beaverton Fred Meyer store in September 2009.

U.S. District Judge Michael Mosman sentenced Lawrence Kuch, 59, of Vancouver, for the crime, his third Oregon bank robbery since 1986.

Mosman enhanced Kuch's sentence to more than 12 years because he qualifies as a career offender with two previous robbery sentences, according to officials with the U.S. District Attorney's Oregon office.

Kuch entered the Chase Bank inside the Fred Meyer store at 11425 S.W. Beaverton Hillsdale Highway on Sept. 30, 2009. He placed a bag on the floor and handed a victim teller a note reading: 'Explosives in bag. A-N-D!!! Electronic tracking devices will set off! Bag too! I'm dying anyway so I don't care! But maybe you fellow employees and Chase customers would like to live?? Just put money in bag! Nobody! Follows me!!'

Kuch fled the bank with $8,270 in bank funds. His sister's pickup truck, apparently taken from her Vancouver home earlier that morning, was found in the parking lot of the shopping center, according to police records. In phone text messages sent to his sister, Kuch indicated that 'federal marshals are on to me.'

Bradley C. Conway, a Seattle police officer, arrested Kuch in Seattle on Oct. 16, 2009, recovering his cell phone and Oregon identification card.

Kuch was sentenced as a career offender because he was previously imprisoned twice for robbing Portland banks on June 30, 1986, and March 29, 1995. On both occasions, Kuch presented notes claiming he had explosives.

In the first robbery, his probation officer recognized a photo of him robbing the bank, while an electronic tracking device led police to Kuch the second time.

Assistant U. S. Attorney John Haub was the prosecutor in Kuch's most recent bank robbery.