UPDATE: Three robbery suspects arrested after fleeing in taxi

By Emily Gillespie and Patty Hastings

Published:

Updated: April 11, 2013, 6:41 PM

 
photoA Clark County Sheriff's deputy exits a taxi cab on the southbound shoulder of Interstate 5 just north of the 78th Street exit, which was allegedly used as the getaway car in the robbery of the IQ Credit Union on Thursday.

(/The Columbian)

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photoSouthbound traffic on Interstate 5 squeezes past law enforcement vehicles after three suspects were arrested in connection with the robbery of the Salmon Creek iQ Credit Union only a few minutes before.

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Credit Union Robbed

Three suspects who allegedly robbed the Salmon Creek iQ Credit Union this afternoon and fled in a Radiocab taxi van, were caught on Interstate 5 and later arrested.

At 2:26 p.m. two people entered the branch at 13505 N.E. 10th Ave. and gave a note to the teller demanding cash, said Sgt. Fred Neiman, spokesman for the Clark County Sheriff’s Office. After getting an undisclosed amount of cash, they fled the store on foot, heading west. Witnesses followed the suspects and saw them hop into the black and white taxi van, which was parked in the nearby Fred Meyer parking lot.

The taxi van got onto I-5 south, where agents with the Washington State Liquor Control Board spotted it. The agents followed the taxi until they were joined by sheriff’s deputies and Washington State Patrol troopers.

Officers stopped the taxi on the right shoulder of I-5 at the Northeast 78th Street overpass and detained three passengers, two men and a woman, without incident. The stolen cash was recovered. All three suspects were later arrested after questioning. The taxi driver was not believed to be involved in the robbery, Neiman said.

The names and ages of those involved were not released.

Officers took witnesses to drive-by the suspects on the interstate and confirm whether or not they saw them rob the bank. The suspects, each handcuffed and held by an officer, stood on the side of the interstate behind patrol cars during the slow drive-by.

The State Patrol provided traffic control, while the right lane was closed for about half an hour.

Witness observations and having law enforcement in the right place at the right time helped authorities catch the suspects, Neiman said.

“If you can, from a safe distance, take observations,” said Deputy Alan Earhart, who was shuttling witnesses from the branch to the overpass. “Just be a good witness. Don’t confront people.”

A lot of what police do, he explained, is based on witness observations.

Detectives with the Major Crimes Unit and Tactical Detective Unit interviewed witnesses and processed the site by reviewing surveillance videos, taking photos and dusting surfaces of the bank for fingerprints. The taxi van was impounded and will also be processed for evidence, Neiman said.

Although the credit union was closed during the investigation, customers could still use the drive-thru.

iQ Credit Union launched in 1940 serving educators in Vancouver and has since expanded its customer base and opened branches throughout the state.