Wells Fargo robbery suspect held on $150,000 bail

Man, 62, has reportedly been unemployed for a decade

By Paris Achen, Columbian courts reporter

Published:

 

A 62-year-old bank robbery suspect inadvertently revealed his identity to police by using a pay slip with his name and address for his robbery note, court records say.

Joseph F. Pierce of Vancouver faces a charge of first-degree robbery at his May 29 arraignment in Clark County Superior Court in connection with the May 6 robbery of a Wells Fargo branch in Vancouver.

During a first appearance Wednesday, Judge John Nichols held him on $150,000 bail. The judge appointed Vancouver ­attorney Jeff Souder to defend him.

Pierce is accused of holding up the bank branch inside a Safeway grocery store at 6701 E. Mill Plain Blvd. at about 4:10 p.m. He handed a teller a note saying he had a gun and wanted money from the till, according to a probable cause affidavit. He then allegedly opened up a black nylon bag and revealed a silver handgun.

The teller gave him between $1,300 and $2,000. Pierce drove away in a green 1998 Ford Mustang convertible, according to police.

But Pierce forgot his robbery note, which he had scribbled on a pay slip listing his name and address, court documents said.

Police went to Pierce’s residence, listed on the pay slip, and found no one at home, the probable cause affidavit said. Police learned of rumors that he was hiding at a hotel in Beaverton.

The U.S. Marshal Oregon Fugitive Task Force ultimately found his convertible in the parking lot at Motel 6, 12855 S.E. 97th Ave. in Clackamas, Ore. Pierce was arrested early Friday at the hotel and returned to Clark County on a warrant for first-degree robbery.

It’s unclear where the pay slip came from; Pierce said in jail paperwork after his arrest that he’s been unemployed for the past 10 years.

He’s also suspected in other bank robberies in Multnomah County, court records said.

His last known address was in Troutdale, Ore., according to court documents.

Paris Achen: 360-735-4551; http://twitter.com/Col_Courts; http://facebook.com/ColTrends;paris.achen@columbian.com.