Man sought in Astoria's second crime against a financial institution in four monthsPolice are still searching for a man suspected of robbing the Astoria U.S. Bank branch Monday afternoon.

The man fled from the scene on foot heading south on Ninth Street after robbing the bank at 987 Duane St. Police believe he ran up a footpath to hail a cab at Harrison Avenue.

K-9 units from the Warrenton Police and the Clatsop County Sheriff departments, as well as Oregon State Police troopers, assisted the Astoria Police Department in its search for the suspect.

LORI ASSA - The Daily Astorian

Towtruck driver Ron Moss prepares to tow a silver Subaru parked at Ninth Street and Franklin Avenue to assist law enforcement agencies as they investigate angles after the robbery of the U.S. Bank Monday. He is described as being a thin, white man in his 20s to 30s who at the time of the robbery was wearing sunglasses and a knit stocking cap and maroon sweater.

Astoria Towing towed a late-model Subaru sedan at about 5:15 p.m. Monday. It had been parked at Ninth Street and Franklin Avenue. Police say they believe it may have played a role in the robbery. A similar

vehicle was reported stolen from Astoria Middle School at around 2 p.m.

Astoria Police Capt. Alan Oja said investigators consider it a possibility the suspect in the bank robbery stole the car to use it as a getaway vehicle. "We certainly have to look at that as a possibility, (but) we certainly don't know if it is an actuality," he said.

The police would not release details about how the robbery transpired, citing the sensitive nature of the current investigation.

"We're not going to release the details of how the robbery went down in the bank," Oja said. "That's investigative information that's pretty crucial to our investigation."

Lead investigator Astoria Det. Eric Halverson said the department has some idea about who and where the suspect is, but would not go into detail.

He said the FBI has been contacted, and the department will examine forensic evidence left at the scene. "We'll just proceed from there," he said.

Halverson asked anyone who may have information to contact him at the Astoria Police Department at 338-6411 ext. 24.

Oja said he was impressed by the quick response and high level of cooperation in the community immediately after the robbery that will hopefully lead to the arrest of the suspect.

PATRICK WEBB -- The Daily Astorian

Astoria reserve police officer Rickie Yelton stands watch at Ninth and Exchange streets Monday afternoon as other officers scour the city for clues to the whereabouts of a bank robbery suspect.Debbie Morrow, who works in accounts receivable for The Daily Astorian, was behind the suspect while waiting in line for a teller.

Morrow, who worked for seven years in banking, said she was suspicious of the man because he was wearing a sweater and a knit stocking cap - on a warm and sunny day - and wore his sunglasses inside the bank.

"He was acting fidgety, pulling the stocking cap down over his eyes," she said.

When it was his turn to approach the teller area, Morrow said the man walked up to a female teller, and didn't say anything just started stuffing as much cash as he could into his pants pockets. She said she believes the man may have passed the teller a note.

"I've never been in that situation before ... I was nervous, but I guess my observation skills kicked in," she said. "When you work at a bank you're given that kind of training."

After the robber left, Morrow said she wrote down everything she could remember about the man to assist authorities.

She said the mood inside the bank was "tense, upset" because while everyone's first reaction was a desire to leave the bank, the doors were locked by police. Morrow said she was interviewed by Astoria police officers.

Everyone who had been in the bank was given a questionnaire to fill out about the incident, she said.

Branch Manager Julie Davis said she could not comment on the robbery or release the amount of money stolen.

This is the second bank robbery in Astoria in about four months. At the end of July, the Wells Fargo bank on Commercial Street was robbed by a man with a note. A suspect from Florida was arrested in Svensen on U.S. Highway 30 that same day, and the FBI later indicted the second suspect a few weeks later, police said.


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