Crime spree suspect faces 7 felony charges

He’s accused of two bank robberies, leading police on chase

By Laura McVicker, Columbian staff writer

Published:

Updated: June 21, 2012, 8:17 PM

 
photoBrent J. Woodall

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A Salmon Creek man was charged Thursday with seven felonies, a day after police said he committed two bank robberies, a carjacking and a hit-and-run accident in Clark County during a 90-minute crime spree that ended with his capture in North Portland.

Clark County prosecutors issued a warrant charging Brent J. Woodall with three counts of first-degree robbery, first-degree burglary, theft of a motor vehicle, attempt to elude a police vehicle and hit-and-run injury.

Woodall, who turned 29 Wednesday, is being held in the Multnomah County, Ore., Jail. The warrants request that he be held without bail.

It isn’t yet clear whether Woodall will first be prosecuted for his alleged crimes in Portland before being extradited to Clark County. He stands accused of second-degree robbery and attempting to elude police in Portland.

Clark County Senior Deputy Prosecutor Camara Banfield said Multnomah County prosecutors have told her they expect to make a decision in the next few days whether to proceed with their case against Woodall or release him to Clark County’s custody.

The crime spree began about 3 p.m., when a man identified as Woodall went to Riverview Community Bank, 1220 N.E. 88th St., and allegedly presented a note to a teller indicating he was armed with three types of weapons and demanding money, according to the arrest warrant affidavit filed in court. The robber left with an undisclosed amount of cash, but ditched the money in the parking lot after dye packs exploded on the bills.

A chase involving the suspect’s black Toyota Sequoia SUV ensued through neighborhoods east of the bank before emerging onto Highway 99, Interstate 5 and then Highway 14. Along the way, the suspect swerved to miss police spike strips and avoided several attempts by sheriff’s deputies to use what’s called a PIT maneuver to turn his car.

The first chase ended about 3:20 p.m. when deputies lost sight of the Toyota driving northbound on Lieser Road.

A few minutes later, Vancouver police received a call about a robbery at Bank of America, 3308 N.E. Auto Mall Drive, where a man matching Woodall’s description also showed the teller a note demanding cash.

The robber allegedly took off with $14,278, according to the arrest warrant.

By this time, sheriff’s deputies had Woodall’s name and address. Deputies headed toward his Salmon Creek home soon spotted the Toyota Sequoia, and another chase ensued. Moments later, the Toyota hit a minivan belonging to Scott Lewis and continued west on Northeast 144th Street at Northeast 29th Avenue. Lewis complained of soreness and was treated at a hospital. Due to the danger to bystanders, deputies decided to discontinue the chase near Northeast 134th Street and 20th Avenue.

The next call came from the AM/PM convenience store at 39th and Main streets, where a man identified as Woodall allegedly attempted to carjack a vehicle. Minutes later, police got word that the suspect stole a Ford Focus from a man, Robert Camper, outside an office building on East 15th Street in downtown Vancouver. The damaged Toyota was abandoned nearby.

“Camper said Woodall told him, ‘I need your car. I don’t want to hurt you.’ Camper was in shock and questioned Woodall with ‘What?’ ” according to the arrest warrant. The man replied, “ ‘I have a gun’ and motioned with his free hand like he was reaching for a pistol along his waist.”

Woodall then allegedly drove the stolen Focus onto Interstate 5 and into Portland, with officers once again in pursuit. He was captured by the Portland Police Bureau in the St. Johns area of North Portland after being pinned between a minivan and a police cruiser.

At first, investigators wouldn’t say whether they believed Woodall was the suspect in the Bank of America robbery. However, court records indicate a Bank of America teller recognized Woodall as a former classmate at Prairie High School A bank camera photo released by police show that the robber was wearing the same clothes and had the same marking on his face as Woodall did at the time he was booked into jail late Wednesday.

Laura McVicker: www.twitter.com/col_courts; www.facebook.com/reportermcvicker; laura.mcvicker@columbian.com; 360-735-4516.