Bank robber from Vancouver sentenced to federal prison

By Laura McVicker, Columbian staff writer

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A prolific bank robber from Vancouver was sentenced Friday to 12 years, seven months in federal prison for his third robbery in Oregon.

Robert Lawrence Kuch, 59, received the exceptional sentence from U.S. District Court Judge Michael Mosman in Portland because he has been deemed a career offender, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Portland.

Kuch pleaded guilty March 4 to the bank robbery.

The bank robbery charge concerns a Sept. 30, 2009, incident in which Kuch entered a Chase Bank inside a Fred Meyer store in Beaverton, Ore. He placed a bag on the floor and handed a teller a note that read: “Explosives in bag. A-N-D!! Electronic tracking devices will set off! Bag too! I’m dying anyway so I don’t care! But maybe you fellow employees and Chase customers would like to live? Just put money in bag! Nobody! Follows me!” according to the press release.

Kuch, who has no known terminal disease, fled with $8,270, prosecutors said. Responding police found Kuch’s sister’s pickup truck in the parking lot. He also left text messages for his sister with messages like “federal marshals are on to me,” according to the press release.

A police officer Kuch arrested Kuch in Seattle on Oct. 16, 2009.

Kuch has been imprisoned twice before for bank robberies. In 1986, Kuch robbed a Portland bank by presenting a note. He was caught after his probation officer recognized a photo of him robbing the bank. His electronic tracking device led police to Kuch after his second robbery at a Portland bank in 1995.