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Suspected serial bank robber appears in court

Same Vancouver bank targeted three times this year

By , Columbian Assistant Metro Editor
Published: May 6, 2016, 10:42am
2 Photos
Marx Coonrod, center, who is accused of robbing a Vancouver bank branch multiple times earlier this year, makes a first appearance Friday morning, May 6, 2016, in Clark County Superior Court. (Amanda Cowan/The Columbian)
Marx Coonrod, center, who is accused of robbing a Vancouver bank branch multiple times earlier this year, makes a first appearance Friday morning, May 6, 2016, in Clark County Superior Court. (Amanda Cowan/The Columbian) Photo Gallery

A convicted bank robber suspected of striking a Vancouver Umpqua Bank branch three times this year made a first appearance Friday in Clark County Superior Court.

Marx Wayne Coonrod, 60, of Scappoose, Ore., appeared on suspicion of three counts of first-degree robbery and one count of attempted first-degree robbery. He’s accused of twice robbing the bank branch at 10705 N.E. Fourth Plain Blvd. and making a third attempt last month.

According to a probable cause affidavit filed in Superior Court, a man wearing a dark-colored, hooded jacket and scarf walked into the bank shortly after 10:30 a.m. Feb. 1, and said, “This is a robbery. I’m not joking. Give me all of your $100s and $50s.”

Bank employees gave the man about $1,690. No weapons were displayed. He then left on foot and walked east from the bank, the affidavit said.

Police searched for the man and found fresh tire tracks in the mud and located a blue, knit beanie in a nearby drive-thru lane, court records said.

On March 16, shortly after 10 a.m., a man wearing a hooded jacket, blue jeans, dark-colored gloves and sunglasses, and a blue bandana over his face walked into the same bank. One of the employees immediately recognized him as the man who had robbed the bank branch in February, according to court documents.

The suspect again demanded $100 and $50 bills, but displayed no weapons. Employees gave him $4,850, and he fled the bank to the east, the affidavit said.

Employees provided police with a description of the suspect, consistent with both robberies, and said he walked with a limp. They also went outside after the second robbery to see the suspect’s direction of travel and saw a small, white truck with an extended cab and ladder or lumber rack turn east onto Fourth Plain Boulevard from a nearby business, court records said.

Court records show that DNA found on the beanie recovered in the area came back as a match to Coonrod after running it through the Washington State Patrol and FBI’s DNA databases, according to the affidavit. Investigators learned Coonrod had been arrested for a series of bank robberies in Vancouver in 2006 and 2007. He reportedly wore a similar disguise in those robberies and walked with a limp, court documents said.

A Clark County judge in 2008 sentenced Coonrod to eight years in prison after he pleaded guilty to robbing a Washington Mutual Bank branch in the Minnehaha area in 2006, and for planning to rob two others.

Investigators then learned that Coonrod owned a white 2006 Ford Ranger pickup. They located an address for him in Scappoose, Ore., and observed the suspected getaway vehicle at Coonrod’s home, court records said.

Then, on April 22, a bandit, believed to be Coonrod, attempted to rob the same Umpqua Bank branch. Witnesses identified the suspected getaway vehicle and took photos of it leaving the area, the affidavit said.

Coonrod was subsequently arrested in Columbia County, Ore., and was extradited to the Clark County Jail.

On Friday, Judge Gregory Gonzales appointed Coonrod a defense attorney and set his bail at $150,000.

He will be arraigned May 13.

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