Suspected Vancouver bank robber, ‘Sporty Spice bandit’, in court

Prosecutors say he is facing 'third-strike'

By Jessica Prokop, Columbian Courts Reporter

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Prosecutors say that an alleged Vancouver bank robber — suspected by authorities as being Oregon’s “Sporty Spice bandit” — could spend the rest of his life in prison.

Under the state’s three-strikes law, offenders convicted three times of certain violent and sexual felonies receive mandatory life sentences.

Andrew Lee Lehr, 47, of Aurora, Ore., appeared Thursday in Clark County Superior Court on suspicion of first-degree robbery, first-degree assault, second-degree assault, attempting to elude and first-degree malicious mischief.

Senior Deputy Prosecutor Kasey Vu said that all of the alleged crimes stem from Tuesday’s spree that started at a Vancouver Wells Fargo bank branch. Authorities said Lehr robbed the bank at gunpoint, then led police on a high-speed chase, at times reaching speeds of 100 mph.

They also allege that he intentionally rammed into another vehicle during the chase, which ended when Lehr lost control of his vehicle and crashed into a fiber optic box owned by CenturyLink. The damage to the property totaled about $300,000, Vu said.

“He’s a tremendous danger to the community,” Vu told the judge.

He said Lehr has a long criminal record of theft, grand theft and robbery dating back to 1998 in a number of states, including California, South Dakota and Oregon. According to the Department of Justice, Lehr also robbed the Vancouver Mall Wells Fargo branch in 2003.

Lehr was on federal probation for a previous robbery conviction when the most recent incidents unfolded, Vu said, and it appears he is facing his third strike.

Vu requested that Lehr be held on $500,000 bail, which the judge granted. Lehr will be arraigned June 29.

Oregon robberies

Authorities on Wednesday identified Lehr as the suspected Sporty Spice bandit, a name the FBI conferred. The FBI said investigators believe Lehr robbed a Key Bank branch in Tigard, Ore., on June 2 and another Key Bank in Wilsonville, Ore., on June 7. The robber was dubbed the Sporty Spice bandit because of the athletic apparel he wore in both robberies.

Lehr has not yet been charged with any robberies in Oregon. The FBI said any charges will be made in consultation with local and federal prosecutors.

Court records show that Lehr works as a computer coder.