Spokane Officers Instrumental in helping FBI Catch "Roscoe Bandit"

Ofc. Teresa Fuller

Thursday, November 13, 2014 at 1:31 p.m.

Extensive work by several Spokane Police Officers led to the arrest of the serial bank robber dubbed the “Roscoe Bandit” by the FBI. After robbing a bank in downtown Spokane on 11/7/2014, the officers followed the suspect's escape route via surveillance footage throughout River Park Square, ultimately discovering his getaway car had been issued a parking ticket while he was robbing the bank. This information led to his identification and ultimately his apprehension.

On 11/7/2014, just after 10:30 a.m., employees at the Numerica Credit Union in the 500 block of west Riverside called 911 to report they had just been robbed. Numerous Spokane Police officers arrived to investigate. Sgt. Jason Reynolds, after viewing security footage, realized that the suspect closely resembled a robber from the west side of the state that had been dubbed the “Roscoe Bandit”. Sgt. Reynolds then contacted the FBI to advise them of this information and have them assist in the investigation.

Three other officers, Ofc. Jim Christensen, Ofc. Paul Watson, and Ofc. Joseph Dotson, tracked the suspect through numerous stores in River Park Square via security footage, following the suspect's path as he exited the mall after the robbery. Using this information, they were able to locate what is believed to be the suspect's jacket that was turned into the security desk after the suspect left in on a bench. They were also able to track the suspect to his getaway vehicle which was parked near City Hall. They contacted parking enforcement to see if any of their officers remembered the suspect or the vehicle. The officer they contacted said she did, indeed remember the vehicle and she had issued it a parking ticket.

Because of the identification of the suspect vehicle, the FBI was able to develop further information about the Roscoe Bandit. This information ultimately led to his identification. Community assistance also played a significant part in that process, both in terms of tips generated by media publicity and cooperation during police interviews.

The suspect, 55-year-old William Mitchell, was ultimately arrested for the four Washington robberies in Grants Pass, OR. The FBI made the following statement about the cooperation of all these agencies, “This capture reflects partnerships across the northwest. In addition to the alert and proactive effort by the Grants Pass Police Department, this investigation is being conducted jointly by the Spokane Police Department, the Olympia Police Department, and the FBI throughout Washington and Oregon.”

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