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Bomb scare, bank robbery cause evacuation of Gresham Fred Meyer

by: OUTLOOK PHOTO: JIM CLARK - A Gresham police officer puts on a bomb disposal suit before entering the Chase Bank located in the Fred Meyer shopping center in Gresham. A bank robbery and bomb scare led to the evacuation of Gresham's Fred Meyer at about noon Tuesday, April 16.

The suspect, described as a man in his 70s, entered the Chase Bank in the Fred Meyer in the 2400 block of Southeast Burnside Road carrying a small computer bag that would fit a tablet, said Det. John Rasmussen, Gresham Police spokesman.

He gave the teller a note and said he had a gun and a bomb. He didn't, however, display or simulate having a gun. Before leaving, he also left his bag on the counter.

No customers were in the bank, but there were quite a few inside the store, Rasmussen said. Everyone in the building was evacuated, while Gresham and Portland police officers on the Metropolitan Explosives Disposal Unit responded, along with the Federal Bureau of Investigations.

The bomb squad determined no bomb was inside the bag. Nobody was injured, and customers and employees went back inside at about 1:40 p.m.

The robber's timing – one day after two bombs exploded at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, killing three, including an 8-year-old boy, and injuring more than 170 – made it all the more traumatizing for those involved, Rasmussen said.

“It appears someone is trying to capitalize on the event,” Rasmussen said, referring to the Boston bombings.

Police describe the robber as a thin white male in his mid to late 70s wearing a dark baseball cap, blue jeans and a light-colored long-sleeved shirt. He has gray hair and is about 5-foot-8 inches tall.

Anyone with information about the case is asked to call the Gresham Police Department's tip line at 503-618-2719.



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