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Jun 30th
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UPDATE: Search continues for Middletown bank robbery suspect; suspect seen at several locations

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Lake County Sheriff’s Sgt. Don McPherson puts up crime scene tape around the Westamerica Bank in Middletown, Calif., after it was robbed on Wednesday, February 27, 2013. Photo by John Lindblom.

MIDDLETOWN, Calif. – Authorities on Wednesday evening continued to search for a male suspect who allegedly robbed a Middletown bank earlier in the day.

The robbery at Westamerica Bank, located at 21058 Calistoga Road, occurred at about 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, according to reports from the scene.

A male suspect – who claimed that he had a gun – allegedly robbed the bank and then fled on foot, with deputies searching the surrounding area, including the vicinity of nearby businesses and Twin Pine Casino, radio reports indicated.

The suspect was described as a white male adult with a scruffy beard, in his late 20s, with his height estimated at between 5 feet 8 inches tall and 5 feet 10 inches tall.

He was said to be wearing all black clothing, including a hoodie, a bulky jacket and a black hat.

There were reports that the suspect may have been at the Tri-Counties Bank – a short distance away, at 21097 Calistoga Road – about an hour previous to the Westamerica robbery, although Tri-Counties was not hit.

The suspect also was spotted going into Hardester’s Market, located next door to Westamerica Bank, shortly before the alleged robbery.

A group of third grade Girl Scouts from HVL Troop No. 10649 was selling cookies at a table in front of Hardester's Market not more than 60 feet from the entrance to the Westamerica Bank when the robbery occurred, according to Scout Leader Melissa Clark.

Clark said that 15 minutes before the suspect allegedly robbed the bank, one of the girls in the troop tried to sell him cookies when he came out of Hardester’s.

“We saw him hanging around Hardester's and at some point he left Hardester's and went in the bank. We didn't see him go in the bank because we had our backs to him at that point,” she said.

She added, “When we found out he had robbed the bank we grabbed our girls and had them near us.”

Lake County Sheriff’s officials had Westamerica Bank cordoned off with crime scene tape and were continuing the robbery investigation early Wednesday evening.

Lake County News will continue to post updates as they become available.

John Lindblom contributed to this report.

Email Elizabeth Larson at [email protected] . Follow her on Twitter, @ERLarson, or Lake County News, @LakeCoNews.

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Comments (7)Add Comment
Security Video
written by tcod, February 28, 2013
let's see the video, then maybe we can figure out who the guy issmilies/sad.gif
Crime rate
written by a guest, February 28, 2013
The California crime rate this year is expected to be lower than in 2010, when it hit a 42 year low. See
The rates for Lake County are about average for California.
It would be interesting
written by a guest, February 28, 2013
To know if there has been an increase in the amount of crime tape ordered by the Sheriffs Dept and police department this year or recently.
increase in robberies RECENTLY?
written by ca215, February 28, 2013

Attempted break-in to my home in CLO...I was clearly at home, moving from room to room with the aid of crutches...due to recent surgery for a broken leg. Turning lights on and off, talking to either myself or my cat, tv chatter going on in the background, etc.
So: when I saw the doorknob on the back door of my house turn I figured there might be trouble.

I've been told that what I did when that knob turned was stupid. I do not care. I called out loudly "Joe, come here and bring the gun."
In my defense I guessed that the person or persons attempting to enter my home might not know I had no Joe and no gun. Well, I was on crutches as said already and also on meds to mask the pain of that leg; I'm not going to claim that calling out those words was a sign of sanity. I just didn't want to have to deal with one or more breakers-in.

Yes of course I grabbed a phone and dialled 911. Told the person about the doorknob moving, my being on crutches and why, spelled my name and address several times.

Forty-five minutes later two reps from the sheriff's dept showed up. No of course no one bothered to check that door for fingerprints other than my own. Also ignored...after their big shoes likely wiped them out...for shoe prints other than my own in the recently-rained-on soil at the back door.

I had and still have an idea that the Confidential Informant a k a "rat" next door or the minors or so-called adults who bought the C I's meth could have been the culprits in the attempted break-in.
Damfino what I would have done, if the person(s) had actually entered the house. Attempt to defend myself and the contents of my wallet by swinging one crutch at the person(s)? THAT would have been stupid.

Before anyone accuses me of wanting instant arrival of someone who would do something to help me, I knew full well that in Clearlake Oaks a person in trouble must wait as long as necessary for the arrival of The Authorities. I didn't expect that the situation would be all taken care of in less than an hour as such things are always done on tv programs.

The only reason I grabbed for the phone was that I was scared. I didn't expect the whole thing to be wrapped up, suspects found right next door at the home of the meth seller who was allowed to stay in business because he DID inform once in a while on people who somehow ticked him off.

I've already said I did not expect much from The Authorities. But it would have been nice if I could have felt that the men gave a **** about the fact I could have wound up dying or dead on my floor.

What did happen was this statement: "Well, you look alright to us; if they come back, call in again." And the men left.

This was back in 1996...which is why I take issue with the idea that robberies have increased recently. If we are talking about "increase in robberies, also increase in numbers of people who live in the County," well, maybe there HAS been an increase in robberies.
But I'm willing to bet that if robbery cases were stacked beside the number of people who live here, stats would show that there really has been no per capita increase in such crimes.

Oh and the meth-seller/rat is still being allowed to remain in business, selling to anyone including minors who come to his door. The Auth doesn't do anything if his customers try to break into homes nearby in search of more cash with which to buy more meth. Must be nice to be arrest-proof.
written by gramps, February 28, 2013
Next thing you know they will be robbing the police station, Oh no not so they will still have their guns.
Hard times for all
written by a guest, February 28, 2013
It is not just the fault of the president, there are many more issues- even though he does bear some of the responsibility, but as resources get scarce along with jobs, this type of crime is bound to increase. With the state releasing prisoners more of these crimes can occur.
Huge increase in robberies recently
written by a guest, February 27, 2013
Under Obummer's magnificent brilliance in tearing this country down - truly stunning - the vermin are emboldened to take what they want, when they want, wherever they want. After 50+ years here, our home was robbed for the first time - crook just walked right in even though it appeared we were home. Police won't fingerprint the many surfaces crook handled - the FBI probably will, though, for the bank. And the creeps that walk our streets without any police disrupting them? Horrible. We are all just sitting ducks.

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