Pasco Attempted Bank Robbery
A suspected bank robber gets away today in Pasco - even after a massive police and tactical lockdown took over several blocks near West Clark and 10th Avenue.
An alarm was reported at the Bank of the West at 9:37 this morning. At around the same time a passerby also reported what looked like a bank robbery in progress.
But as police arrived and began containing the area, the suspect fled.
Pasco Police Captain Jim Raymond says all employees and a few customers were evacuated safely, and no money was stolen.
Pasco, Richland and Kennewick Police, Tri-City Regional SWAT, Benton County Sheriff's Dept and even the FBI were present. A six block radius of the area was cordoned off, and nobody was allowed in or out of that zone.
"Me and my husband were out paying bills and we got blocked in by the police and they said we couldn't leave until further notice - it's been two hours," said Ryan Prentice, who was stuck at the scene for several hours.
A police sniper was also stationed atop the Booth Building directly across from the bank.
Raymond says the suspect had been carrying a black backpack, which was found inside the bank.
SWAT entered the building around 12:35pm, clearing the entrance for a robot to investigate the contents of the backpack.
"The bag we've recovered is not suspicious in nature," said Raymond.
At about 12:55pm, the Richland Bomb Squad entered the bank with a canine unit, but after a thorough search, came back empty handed.
"We're trying to finish up and clear and get the bulding clear so we can get the employees back and conduct the investigation," said Raymond.
The suspect is described as about six feet tall, heavy set, weighing more than 200 pounds. He also may be wearing a disguise, possibly a fake beard.
Meanwhile police also locked down several Pasco area schools, including Longfellow and Emerson Elementaries, Captain Gray Daycare and Pasco High School.
"We were about to go to lunch and then the whole school went on lockdown. We could move around the school, but no one was allowed to leave the campus," said Alejandra Valencia, a senior at Pasco High School.
Raymond says police are still looking for the suspect. "As of right now we have not taken the subject into custody and he's probably in the area and so we're expanding our search perimeter and out into the neighborhood.
K-9 units with other law enforcement have done an extensive neighborhood search, but so far they have not located the suspect
If you have any information about the suspect, please contact police.