Bank robbery suspect identified as 'Sporty Spice Bandit'
An armed masked man allegedly robbed a Vancouver, Wash., branch of a Wells Fargo bank Tuesday morning, June 13, and then led police on a chase, crashing into an auto business and running into a backyard before being arrested.
Police later identified the accused robber as the so-called "Sporty Spice Bandit," who is wanted for other armed bank robberies in recent weeks. His actual name has not been released at this time.
The Sporty Spice Bandit was wanted for bank robberies at a Tigard Key Bank on June 2 and a Wilsonville Key Bank on June 7, the FBI said. He has not yet been charged with any robberies in Oregon, the FBI said.
Investigators nicknamed the Tigard and Wilsonville robbery suspect the Sporty Spice Bandit for his choice of sports-related apparel, including an Under Armor black jacket and a khaki-colored Adidas cap.
On Tuesday, the robber walked into the Wells Fargo branch at 8211 N.E. Vancouver Mall Drive shortly after 9 a.m., showed a weapon and then fled in a silver SUV, authorities said.
Officers spotted the car and tried to chase the car, which authorities said reached 100 mph. The silver SUV crashed in the 4700 block of Northeast Minnehaha Street and the robber ran off.
Vancouver police, Clark County deputies and two K-9 teams set up a perimeter and found the man just south of where he crashed.
A police dog helped capture the suspect and bit him in the process.
He was taken to a hospital to be checked out for any injuries and will be booked once he is released from the hospital, according to Vancouver police.
Witnesses had close encounters
Matthew Reynolds, who works at Exclusive Films Auto Spa, said he heard the crash of the suspect's silver SUV.
"I ran up to the car to see if the guy was OK and he fell out of the passenger side of the vehicle and seemed like he was nervous and shocked from getting hit that hard," Reynolds told KOIN 6 News.
The suspect began running behind the building and just kept running, he said.
"The cops pulled up right after them and told me to get down, so I ran inside the shop and closed the doors down," Reynolds said. He said he told a passing officer about an opening on the side of the building where the suspect may have gone.
Police ran into a field behind April Baxter's backyard, which is where they arrested the suspect. She heard police on the loud speaker during the chase telling the suspect to pull over — and she also heard the crash.
"It was pretty loud, it was really loud, so we're, like, what's going on and we could tell it was coming from over there," Baxter told KOIN 6 News.
"Next thing I know I've got officers flying up my driveway. I can see they guy over her in the back corner, I can see his head," she said.
The officers were yelling to the suspect to get on the ground and at first he didn't comply, she said.
"It just all happened so fast. The officers come flying up and they have the K-9," she said, admitting standing in her doorway was "probably not the best plan."
"They called an ambulance up here and it wasn't long after that they brought him out of the field," Baxter said. "I think he was old enough to know better."
It started out as a normal morning, she said, as she took her grandkids to school. Then a suspected bank robber ran right behind her house with police chasing him.
"My blood pressure is way up there," Baxter told KOIN 6 News. "I just felt so violated. Stay out of my yard, you know? That's the thing."
It was really scary, she said: "I'm glad it's over."