Newcastle Police Seek Man After ‘Oceans 11 Type’ Robbery Attempt

NEWCASTLE, WA — Investigators with the Newcastle Police Department and the King County Sheriff’s Office are searching for a man who hid in the ceiling of a Key Bank for several hours, then took three employees hostage.

Police shared the unusual details of the robbery on Wednesday, nearly a month after the incident occurred. After exhausting the evidence in the case, detectives hope someone who knows anything about what happened might be willing to come forward.

According to investigators, the incident started around 1 p.m. on Jan. 3, when Newcastle officers were called to investigate a potential burglary. Police said employees noticed a leaking ceiling tile and initially assumed it was due to a recent stretch of wet weather. After maintenance crews checked things out, they discovered a hole cut in the roof and called the police.

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Employees told officers they had not heard anything unusual, and the roofing company said they saw no signs someone had entered the roof area, leading investigators to believe the attempt was unsuccessful. Police took a burglary report, and the hole was patched.

In the evening, things took a dramatic turn.

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“Just after 5:30 p.m. that same day the bank experienced what can only be described as an Oceans 11 type bank robbery when an unknown suspect, whom we believe had been hiding in the drop ceiling of the bank for [12 – 13 hours], came through the ceiling tiles holding a gun, and took the 3 employees hostage by zip tying them to cabinets and each other,” police wrote.

Police said the suspect hid in a drop ceiling area for at least 12 hours before attempting to rob a Key Bank. (Newcastle Police Department)

Investigators said the man demanded to be let into the bank vault, but employees told him that security measures prevented that from happening. Police said he continued to threaten and harass the tellers for several minutes before leaving through the front door. A few minutes later, one employee was able to get free and call 911.

While police have some surveillance images of the robbery, investigators said the man’s mask made identifying him difficult. In the weeks since the robbery, the police department worked with King County’s major crimes unit and have been unable to figure out who the man was, officials said. They are hoping someone in the community may have heard something that could help.

“[W]e are confident that the suspect in this has told / did tell someone about this incident, either the planning leading up to it or the result of it, or both,” police said. “It is too bizarre a story for someone to keep to themselves.”

Investigators said that, while no employees were physically hurt, they suffered significant emotional trauma, and an arrest in the case could help bring some closure. Anyone with information about the case can submit an anonymous tip to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS, and police said they could be eligible for a reward.

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Source: Bellevue Patch