South Lake Tahoe bank robbed; thief escapes |

South Lake Tahoe bank robbed; thief escapes

William Ferchland

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE – A swift police response didn’t capture a man using a note demanding cash to rob U.S. Bank Thursday afternoon.

He escaped with an undisclosed amount of money.

One South Lake Tahoe police officer who rushed to the scene parked his patrol car on the lawn of Denny’s restaurant. The thief was last seen running into the main parking area of the Al Tahoe shopping area.

Lt. Martin Hewlett said no weapons were seen when the bank was robbed at 1:20 p.m.

The department has the name of a suspect sought for questioning, Hewlett said.

The robber was described as between 5 foot 4 and 5 foot 8 inches tall, with a medium build. He wore a dark sweatshirt with a hood over his head. A face warmer covered his nose, cheeks and chin.

Various U.S. Bank customers seemed oblivious to a “closed” sign taped on the glass entrance doors as they knocked on the panes and peered inside.

Sean Pratt was dismayed when he found himself in an unfortunate situation of not being able to withdraw money from his account. Three days ago, Pratt moved to South Lake Tahoe from Colorado and hasn’t yet received his ATM card.

“I was trying to make a withdrawal, but I guess someone else did,” he said while walking away from the bank.

Brett Enerson and his wife, Bonnie, were preparing to make a deposit when they learned of the robbery.

“I have heard of more bank robberies here than in bigger cities,” he said.

“Well, I haven’t heard of this one being hit,” Bonnie Enerson said as a pair of police detectives walked toward U.S. Bank.

It’s been more than a year since someone walked into a bank and demanded money without a withdrawal slip. In the summer of 2003, Russell Waggoner robbed three branches of El Dorado Bank, one of them twice. in November 2003, Waggoner pleaded guilty to four counts of robbery. He received a 12-year prison sentence after authorities used his fingerprints to find his identity and arrest him in a Sparks casino.

An FBI officer said last year that South Lake Tahoe has averaged 21Ú2 bank robberies per year during the past decade.

Brett believed the transient nature of South Lake Tahoe contributes to the frequency of bank robberies.

Anyone with information on Thursday’s robbery at U.S. Bank is asked to call Detective Brad Williams at (530) 542-6100.

Contact William Ferchland at