When a man robbed three banks wearing a hat with ear flaps, Vancouver police dubbed him the “Elmer Fudd” bandit. The name stuck after other agencies and bank tellers independently referred to the Looney Toons character after seeing a photo of the man, said Detective Lawrence Zapata, with Vancouver police’s Major Crimes Unit.
Fudd’s alleged identity — Daniel L. Teeples, 39 — was revealed Thursday evening when police arrested Teeples in connection with the robbery of the Bank of America at 13411 S.E. Mill Plain Blvd. that evening. His arrest was the result of an investigation led by Zapata since the first bank robbery Dec. 16 at the US Bank branch at 16425 S.E. McGillivray Blvd.
On that Friday, a man went into the bank and demanded money without showing a weapon. He got away on foot wearing a green plaid shirt and furry hat with ear flaps.
Zapata was intrigued when a man with similar clothes robbed the Key Bank at 13215 S.E. Mill Plain Blvd. on Dec. 27. That led detectives to believe he would make a third robbery.
Sure enough, a man who strongly resembled Fudd robbed the US Bank at 6407 N.E. 117th Ave. in Orchards on Jan. 3 and the Bank of America at 3317 S.E. 192nd Ave. on Jan. 13.
That’s when detectives were able to see a pattern.
They distributed fliers about the robber to banks east of Interstate 205 and told patrol, neighborhood police and officers on Neighborhood Response Teams to keep an eye out.
They just missed Fudd when he hit the US Bank on McGillivray Boulevard for the second time on Jan. 18, Zapata said.
He hit the US Bank on Northeast 117th Avenue again on Jan. 25.
Police were able to predict the day, time and area of town that Fudd would strike next based on his past robberies. All of them were at banks east of Interstate 205. All of them, with the exception of one, happened sometime after 5 p.m., and each robbery happened about the same number of days after the previous, Zapata said.
Earlier this week, police started surveillance of banks to get an idea about escape routes and to keep an eye out for the man. They thought the next robbery would be on Thursday or Friday.
The plan was to identify and detain him before the next, Zapata said.
They saw a man who fit the suspect’s description Thursday outside the Bank of America at 13411 S.E. Mill Plain Blvd. He was in and out of the bank so fast, he wasn’t captured until he got to the getaway vehicle, Zapata said.
Teeples and a suspected getaway driver, Anne Louise Bradley, 31, were taken into custody. The two are in the Clark County Jail. They were unable to make their first appearance in Clark County Superior Court on Friday because they were too sick from heroin withdrawal to appear in court, custody officers said. They are scheduled to make their first appearance on Monday.
Teeples was booked on suspicion of seven counts of first-degree robbery. Bradley was booked on suspicion of five counts of first-degree robbery.
That’s not the end of things for Zapata and other detectives in the Major Crimes Unit. Zapata said he still has two weeks to a month worth of work left with the case, including trying to verify information he received from interviewing Teeples.
“It’s always exciting once it comes together,” he said.
Personally, he’s excited by the arrest. As a public servant, it’s exciting that the suspected robber won’t victimize other people in the community, he said.
“It’s always nice to go to the victims of other robberies and let them know we arrested the person who victimized them,” Zapata said. “That’s probably the most rewarding part of it.”
Paul Suarez: 360-735-4522; http://www.twitter.com/col_cops; firstname.lastname@example.org.