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Tigard man arrested in strange bank heist


Suspect claimed a man threatened to kill him unless he stole $80,000

Kenneth James HinderliterA Tigard man is in custody after he allegedly told bank tellers he would be killed if he didn’t steal thousands of dollars.

Kenneth James Hinderliter, 49, was arrested Thursday, Jan. 24, and charged with attempted theft after he reportedly handed a note to a Wilsonville West Coast Bank teller, demanding a large amount of cash. He wasn't armed, but told the bank teller and manager that another man had held him at gunpoint across the street and made him do it, according to Sgt. Sean Collinson of the Wilsonville Police Department.

Hinderliter, wearing a black baseball cap, a black hoodie-style jacket, blue jeans and headphones, then was arrested by Wilsonville police and booked into Clackamas County Jail, where he likely will receive additional charges of attempted bank robbery, Collinson said.

Hinderliter said he was coming out of a restroom at a visitor center across the street from the bank, located at 29702 S.W. Town Center Loop West, when he said a man held a gun to his head and told him to hand the note to the teller, or he would be shot.

Hinderliter walked into West Coast Bank, according to Collinson, at about 10:15 a.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 23, and handed a note to the bank teller. When police arrived, they examined the note, which stated the bank was to give him "$80,000 thousand" and that the other suspect was watching outside and would kill him if he didn't get the money.

Hinderliter reportedly told the teller he did not know the contents of the letter and waited in the bank manager’s office for at least 10 minutes while he told his story.

After looking at the note, police asked Hinderliter for his wallet and, after searching its contents, found other items that had the same handwriting as the stick-up note.

"I asked him, 'Did you write these?'" Collinson said. "I said, 'This is your handwriting. Why don't you come clean?' And he said, 'No, no, that's not my handwriting. I didn't write the note either.'"

Police then put the man in a police car and waited for a detective from the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office who deals specifically with bank robberies to arrive.

"After talking with detective for two minutes, we got a confession," Collinson said. "He told us he was down on his luck, and he wrote the note."

In fact, Collinson said, he had written many notes before settling on this version. Police discovered the drafts after searching his car, which was parked at the Wilsonville Public Library.

"There were several different versions, and some of them were a little more serious," Collinson said.

Michelle Te, of the Wilsonville Spokesman, contributed to this story.