Suspect in crime spree no stranger to money troubles

By Ray Legendre, Columbian staff writer

Published:

Updated: June 22, 2012, 5:15 PM

 

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SALMON CREEK — The morning after Brent Woodall allegedly orchestrated a desperate two-state crime spree, Melinda Faller walked to his front door with a batch of muffins for his wife, Aimee.

Faller, a family friend, wrestled with the same unanswered questions as his family and complete strangers. Namely, why would a man facing potential foreclosure on his home

resort to allegedly robbing two banks? And on his 29th birthday, no less.

"I know money's definitely been an issue," Faller said, as she stood on the sidewalk outside the Woodall's home on Northeast 24th Avenue in Salmon Creek. "I know it is with a lot of families right now. Stress gets the better of people."

Still, Faller reasoned, "I don't think any of us saw this coming."

A numb feeling of disbelief lingered among Woodall's family, friends and neighbors Thursday, the same day Clark County prosecutors charged the personal trainer with seven felonies associated with an alleged crime spree that included two bank robberies in Clark County, a carjacking and several attempted carjackings.

After a two-state pursuit that lasted 90 minutes, authorities arrested Woodall Wednesday afternoon in Portland.

Woodall's family declined comment Thursday at their home in North Salmon Creek's Cobblestone subdivision.

Asked if Woodall's actions made sense to anyone, a young man who left the couple's home responded "nope," as he climbed into a car parked across the street.

Aimee Woodall did not leave the house while reporters were present. On Wednesday, hours after her husband's arrest, she expressed shock at her husband's alleged crimes and described herself as "embarrassed."

The couple lives in a two-story, 3,550-square-foot house with her three children from a previous marriage. The house had been on the market as a short sale for about a year before the listing expired in September.

In March, Quality Loan Service Corp. of Washington was appointed as trustee of the house, a possible indicator of a pre-foreclosure process.

Lynn Sherman Miller, a former client of Woodall's, remembered him fondly, and concluded he must have "snapped" under the burden of financial pressures.

Miller met Woodall at Maverick's gym in Vancouver shortly after he had turned 21, she recalled Thursday afternoon.

She worked in the area and wanted to sneak in a workout during lunch. Instead, she began working out with Woodall at 6 a.m. twice per week for nearly three years. Woodall was always prompt.

"He's very tender," Miller said via phone. "He's got a really sweet heart. I think he just got desperate."

Money issues were nothing new for Woodall, Miller said, noting she had provided him money for gas on occasion because he had no family to fall back on.

His biological mother died when he was still young and his father lived out of state, Miller said.

Miller recalled offering him motherly advice, such as suggestions for jobs.

Woodall had a knack for fitness and training. He watched what he ate scrupulously and did not drink alcohol, his former client said.

Miller stopped training with Woodall around 2007 when he went to work for a local exercise equipment business. She spoke with him about a year and a half ago about training with him, but their schedules did not line up, she said.

Then on Wednesday, she heard his name again. The man in the mug shot was the same handsome Brent Woodall she recognized, but his alleged actions were foreign to her.

Woodall's arrest was also on his neighbor's minds, though it was unclear how well any of his neighbors knew him.

A woman whose son was friends with one of Woodall's stepsons described seeing him outside occasionally and waving, but she did not know him beyond those brief interactions. The woman did not give her name because of the sensitivity of the situation.

The woman observed "tons of cars" outside the couple's home "all the time", she said, but she doubted anyone among their handful of immediate neighbors knew them well.

Authorities drove through Cobblestone subdivision shortly after 3 p.m. Wednesday, advising residents to stay in their homes. They also asked whether any of the residents drove a black Toyota Sequoia -- the same vehicle Woodall allegedly drove during part of the chase on Interstate 5 and Highway 14.

"I wasn't sure what was going on," the neighbor said. "Bank robbery was the farthest thing from my mind."

Ray Legendre: 360-735-4517; www.facebook.com/raylegend;www.twitter.com/#!/col_smallcities;ray.legendre@columbian.com