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OFF THE AIR: My brush with a bank robber

Here is my blog where I'll share some of my life with you "off the air." From my new ventures becoming a Grandma, and trying to learn to knit, to my thoughts about life and living in Portland.
The suspect in the Scappoose bank robbery.

Here is my blog where I'll share some of my life with you "off the air." From my new ventures becoming a Grandma, and trying to learn to knit, to my thoughts about life and living in Portland

PORTLAND, Ore. -- It must have been terrifying for the customers inside the U.S. Bank in Scappoose when the man dubbed by police, the "Froggy Bank Robber," threatened them with a knife, and leaped over the bank counter demanding money.

As I read the news report on-the-air on KGW News at 11pm, it brought back memories of my own brush with the "Beastie Boys Bandit" bank robber in 2010.

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Investigators gave the robber the name for his resemblance to the costume characters in a "Beastie Boys" video, "Sabotage," from 1994. The "Beastie Boys Bandit" had robbed several banks before we crossed paths at the U.S. bank in the Hollywood district.

But I wasn't frightened by our encounter; at least not at first.

In fact, I was oblivious to what was going on. It wasn't until I fully realized the dangerous situation my daughter had faced that I was petrified.

It was Tuesday, June eighth 2010. I had taken my daughter to open her own back account as she headed to college. We were lucky. The bank wasn't busy and a bank employee showed us to her desk in the back corner. The teller asked for Ali's Social Security number. Darn! I'd forgotten it at home.

Fortunately, we lived close by in the neighborhood. I raced home while Ali stayed at the bank and worked on filling out forms.

When I arrived back at the bank, it was eerily quiet. As I walked through the front door, the bank employee helping my daughter was frantically waving at me. It looked like she was motioning me to hurry.

I worried I'd taken too long to get back and she had other pressing business. As I made my way inside, I was aware of another customer passing me on his way out. I didn't take much, if any notice of him, as I focused on the worried look on both the faces of the bank employee, and now my daughter who looked visibly upset.

Another employee raced behind me and locked the bank doors. Now, I knew something was definitely wrong. The woman helping my daughter said, "We've been robbed!"

"What,just now?" I asked.

"Yes, you walked right by the bank robber," she said.

"Can you believe it, Mom?" Ali said.

It had happened quietly. No other customers were in the bank. Ali hadn't been aware of the robbery until the teller sounded the alarm.

The FBI arrived and interviewed us all. Sadly I wasn't a very good witness. I had brushed right by the "Beastie Boys Bandit", practically touched shoulders with him. As I walked through the bank doors, he was making his getaway.

I was so intent on getting back to my daughter, I didn't even notice his black wig, fake mustache, dark sunglasses, and dark-colored suit with a white, buttoned-up dress shirt.

I learned later, he had handed the teller a note demanding money, saying he was armed, and there was an explosive device in the bank. There wasn't. But I was impressed with the calm and professionalism of bank employees as they dealt with the potentially dangerous emergency.

Police caught up with the "Beastie Boys Bandit" two years later, and he was sentenced to 12 years in federal prison. They'll catch the "Froggy Bank Robber," from the recent heists, too.

You can only jump ahead of the law for so long.

As for me; I've been paying closer attention these days when I'm in a bank or other public place to make sure I take notice of my surroundings. It's a good lesson for all of us. It could help catch a crook-- or maybe even save a life.

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