Man gets six years for Camas bank robbery

By Paris Achen, Columbian courts reporter

Published:

 

A Washougal man was sentenced Friday to more than six years in prison for robbing U.S. Bank in downtown Camas on July 23.

Christopher A. Arrington, 30, received the minimum sentence for the crime for someone with his criminal history in exchange for pleading guilty Nov. 27 to first-degree robbery.

Arrington told his live-in fiancée that he robbed the bank in order to pay their past-due rent. He then told police that he used the money to buy synthetic marijuana, play video poker and pay off a $400 drug debt.

"He was concerned if he told police that he used the money to pay rent they would go take the money back from the landlord," said Heather Carroll, Arrington's attorney.

Clark County Superior Court Judge Robert Lewis reluctantly agreed to the sentence of 77 months, which Carroll and Deputy Prosecutor Dan Gasperino jointly recommended.

"Normally, you wouldn't be what I would call (a candidate for) the low end," Lewis said.

"I'm not sure you being out would be a benefit to your family, given your conduct over time when you're out (of prison)," the judge said.

Arrington had been out of prison for about eight months when he committed the robbery. After serving a 17-month prison sentence for attempting to elude police, he landed a job at a motel, Carroll said. He later lost the job after he began using synthetic marijuana, she said.

As a result, he and his fiancée, a single mother and student, were struggling to pay rent, Carroll said.

Then, on July 23, Arrington approached a teller at U.S. Bank, 430 N.E. Adams St., at about 12:30 p.m. and slid her a note without saying a word. The note read, "Count out two grand, or I shoot you," according to a probable cause affidavit filed in court.

Though the teller didn't know it, Arrington apparently wasn't armed.

The teller took $590 out of her top drawer and handed it to Arrington. He calmly walked out of the bank with the cash through the building's north doors and fled in a 1990s greenish minivan.

He turned himself in after local media broadcast surveillance footage of him in the bank.

Arrington's criminal history also includes a burglary, vehicle theft and criminal mischief.