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Warrant issued for alleged Spanaway bank robber

Post by Stacia Glenn / The News Tribune on April 4, 2013 at 12:52 pm |
April 4, 2013 12:52 pm

A warrant has been issued for a man suspected of robbing an Umpqua Bank branch in Spanaway last week.

Richard Strohmetz allegedly wore a wig, glasses and fake mustache during Friday’s holdup of the bank, 16120 Pacific Ave. He is on federal probation for bank robbery, is suspected in two other bank robberies and remains at large.

Pierce County prosecutors have charged him and Beau Smith, 31, with first-degree bank robbery. Smith pleaded not guilty Wednesday and Commissioner Meagan Foley ordered the Tacoma man jailed in lieu of $75,000 bail.

According to charging papers:

The men drove a windowless van to the Black Bear Outpost, which is next door to the bank. Strohmetz went inside the bank and handed the teller a note demanding cash. Smith went inside the outpost to ask about opening a commercial account for propane tanks, giving the employee a fake name.

When the bank manager came into the outpost to alert them of the armed robbery, Smith got in the van and left. Employees remember thinking it odd that Smith left alone and Strohmetz, who initially drove into the parking lot, was nowhere to be seen.

Deputies pulled the van over a few blocks from the bank and spotted a bag filled with money inside.

“Smith states he came and drove away when he heard someone talking about a robbery and heard sirens,” according to court records. “He could not say where the original driver was and could not explain where the money came from in the van.”

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