A suspected robber, who stole an undisclosed amount of money from Peoples Bank in Woodland Park last week and eluded police during an extremely foggy day, is still on the loose.
According to Woodland Park Police Sergeant Jim Halloran, law enforcement authorities are pursuing a variety of leads, but haven’t named any suspects or made any arrests.
However, the investigation, which now includes the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, has turned into a state-wide inquiry. The police have distributed a flyer of the suspect to law agencies throughout the state and are continuing to talk with business owners and merchants in the area.
“We are still collecting evidence, said Halloran, who cited a few substantial leads. He said authorities had solid information of where the suspect tried to evade the police, but didn’t want to release any specific details.
The robbery occurred on June 30 around 12:30, when a man entered Peoples Bank and placed a backpack on the counter. He reportedly demanded money and then left the bank with an undisclosed amount. The suspect never displayed any weapons and no one at the bank was harmed.
Initially, the police and a canine unit from the Colorado Springs Police Department searched an area between the bank and the Safeway shopping center, as the suspect was originally spotted running east on Hwy. 24. Police reportedly interviewed nearby workers of the nearby Trail Ridge Apartments and searched for the suspect by combing tall grass fields that abut the highway. The suspect was spotted by one witness, who lives near the bank, leaving the building on foot with a backpack.
Other local agencies that participated in the investigation, other than the Woodland Park Police, were the Teller County Sheriff’s Department, Colorado State Patrol and Colorado Springs Police. The bank remained closed for an extended period on the afternoon of June 30. The main entrance on Scott Avenue, directly off Hwy. 24, was blocked off by law enforcement vehicles.
The one advantage that assisted the suspect’s getaway was the weather. The day of the reported heist, the Woodland Park area was besieged by a heavy fog that reduced visibility. Traffic lights and some main streets could barely be seen by motorists just prior to the reported robbery.
The suspect is described as a white male, who was wearing a black hat and sun glasses at the time of the robbery. He is reported as being about 5-feet, 11-inches tall and weighing approximately 170 pounds. The new flyer, compiled by law officers through videos, depicts the suspect during the time of the robbery in more detail. Anyone who has any information should call the Woodland Police at 719-687-9262.
The incident has shocked many residents in the community as it marks the first known bank robbery in Woodland Park in recent memory. The area has been targeted by a few reported significant thefts at financial institutions in the last 20 years, but these have mostly involved embezzlement crimes, which were committed by former or current employees of these institutions. “This is the first one (an actual bank robbery) I can recall since I have been here with the department,” said Halloran, a 20-year plus veteran of the Woodland Park Police Department.
In previous interviews, Woodland Park Police Chief Bob Larson admitted that the city has been lucky to escape serious robbery attempts, despite its close proximity to Colorado Springs. That trend, though, could be screeching to a close.