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Has Bend bank robber struck a third time?

By Joe Burns
Published On: Jul 31 2012 07:30:32 PM CDT
Updated On: Jul 31 2012 07:51:53 PM CDT

A heavy-set man armed with a weapon robs the Home Federal Bank in downtown Bend Monday. But could the suspect be the same one who robbed twice the south Bank of the Cascades?

BEND, Ore. -

Police are still searching for the suspect who police say entered a NW Bend bank armed with a knife, approached a teller and demanded money.

Now the question many are asking is, is this the same suspect from two other recent bank robberies in Bend?

Police say there are definitely some similarities between the suspect in all three holdups and are investigating them as possibly being connected.

The Home Federal Bank robbery is the second holdup in two months in Bend, and the fifth since last December.

And only one of them has been solved.

Could the man who robbed Home Federal Bank in downtown Bend Monday, be the same person who robbed the south branch of the Bank of the Cascades twice in three months, in December and April?

"There are many similarities in the description of the suspect," police Lt. Paul Kansky said Tuesday.

Those similarities include the same weight, height and clothing description.

"Looking back at the description and the surveillance footage of the previous suspect in those two Bank of the Cascades robberies on the south side, it is possible that they are connected," Kansky said.

And that prompts some added worries.

"I'm concerned as a police officer, as a citizen, that somebody has potentially targeted our banks," Kansky said. "And since some of them may be connected, as targeted them more than once, so that's definitely a concern"

In all three robberies, the suspect was armed.

But what should bank employees do in such a scary situation?

Kansky says they should just comply and give them what the robbers are asking for, and let them be on their way.

"They should be good witnesses, get information about the suspect," Kansky said. "Details that would be helpful to apprehend them. They certainly shouldn't put themselves in harms' way."

So with five recent Bend bank robberies, should bank employees be worried about their safety?

"I definitely think they should be responsible and be aware," Kansky said. "The most important thing is to be aware of their surroundings -- aware of things that are out of the norm."

Kansky says that advice goes beyond banks -- any type of business and everybody should be aware and vigilant for suspects targeting the area.

But Kansky tells NewsChannel 21 he doesn't think Bend has become an easy target for bank robberies.

"I don't believe so," Kansky said. "Bank robberies occur across the state, across the nation. And at times it can be sporadic in various areas, but I believe we are no more susceptible to bank robberies than any other city."

Police haven't yet released the surveillance video or photos from Monday's robbery.

If you have any information on this case, police ask that you call them through Deschutes County dispatchers at (541) 693-6911, or contact Crime Stoppers' Tip Line at 1-877-876-TIPS or use the form at KTVZ.COM's Crime Stoppers page. You can remain anonymous and you could be eligible for a cash reward.

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