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Bank robber strikes at Port Orchard branch

Local Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents are working with the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office to locate the man who robbed a bank on Mile Hill Drive at gunpoint on Friday afternoon.

Sheriff’s spokesman Deputy Scott Wilson said the robbery began around 1:50 p.m. at the Washington Mutual Bank branch in the South Park Village Shopping Center on Mile Hill Drive, when the suspect entered the bank brandishing a black, semi-automatic handgun.

Wilson said the suspect then “took over” the bank, a style of robbery that is of particular concern to law enforcement because of the increased risk of harm to employees and bystanders.

“A takeover robbery, such as this one, greatly increases the opportunity for violence,” said Special Agent Patrick Gahn of the FBI. “It places bank employees, customers ... and the general public at high risk.”

Wilson said deputies and the Port Orchard police Department were alerted to the robbery at 1:54 p.m when an alarm was activated at the bank, which to the best of his knowledge was tripped by an employee.

When officers arrived on-scene at approximately 2 p.m., Wilson said the suspect had already fled the bank with an undisclosed amount of money.

Attempts to locate the suspect on nearby streets and with a canine officer were unsuccessful.

Wilson said investigators “strongly believe” the suspect in Friday’s hold-up is the same man who committed two other robberies in the past few weeks at a Kitsap Bank branch on 3425 Wheaton Way, including one the day before. The first robbery occurred at the same location on May 30.

The suspect is described as a male, possibly Hispanic, between 5-6 and 5-10, with a small to medium build. He is believed to be in his mid- to-late 20s, and was wearing a white T-shirt, dark jeans and a red ski mask.

A photograph of the suspect was released, which was reportedly taken by the bank’s video surveillance system.

Wilson said the robberies are still under investigation, and the FBI is the lead agency for these incidents, although his office is assisting.

Anyone with information about the robberies or the suspect is asked to call the FBI’s Seattle Office at (206) 622-0460, or Sheriff’s Detective Phil Doremus at (360) 337-5616, or 9-1-1.

Those wishing to remain anonymous may contact Crime Stoppers of Puget Sound at (800) CRIME-13.

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