Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Bank Robber

This is what was going on in the neighborhood where we were driving around on the way to the Old Market. I knew something strange was going on. Glad we didn't get there about 45 minutes earlier right as they were chasing and arresting the guy!

Robber Captured Hours After Hitting Two Banks Save Email Print
Bank of the West branches held up 11 minutes apart
Email Address: sixonline@wowt.com
Robber Captured

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A man suspected of robbing two Omaha banks in 11 minutes Tuesday morning was arrested several hours later after a brief chase on foot.

The Bank of the West branch at 24th and L was hit at 9:04 a.m. The suspect said he had a weapon and demanded money.

Then at 9:15 a.m., another Bank of the West branch was robbed a few miles away at 50th and Grover.

Three hours after the holdups, a police officer spotted the getaway car at 29th and Pacific. The suspected bank robber noticed the cruiser and took off. He scaled a fence and ran across Interstate 480, dodging traffic before hiding between houses in the area of 27th and Pacific.

"Crossing 480 during the middle of the day is obviously pretty risky," says Omaha Police Officer Bill Dropinski.

"I just saw about 20 policemen back here with guns,” says Rose Kohout. “It scared the heck out of me."

“I was outside and I was like, why are the cameras here?" says Jeanette Martinez.

Officers used a taser to get the suspect under control. He was later identified as 27-year-old Robert Sanford of Omaha. He was booked on two counts of robbery and one count of theft by receiving over $1,500.

"He left his car running while he was in there,” says Melissa Tschida, who works at the eye doctor's office next door to the bank at 50th and Grover. "I just got here and I saw a guy, I heard him slam the door and then his car didn't click. You know like, when you put it in reverse to drive it made a funny sound because he was in such a hurry."

She says he tore out of the parking lot the same way he drove in, but this time she noticed something about the getaway car. "I saw the back of the trunk, looked like it had been in a car accident."

Officers must have recognized it too, seeing the damage on the back bumper. The vehicle was reported stolen Monday in Des Moines.

The money from the two heists wasn't on the suspect when he was caught and witnesses say officers were on a big search even after the arrest. It appears initially, they came up empty-handed when it came to the cash.

“I'm going to look for it,” says Martinez. “If I would find it I would turn it in."

Channel 6 News has learned Sanford is no stranger to the criminal justice system. He served four years in prison for the armed holdup of a sports bar in Lincoln.

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