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North Bend robbery: Masked man was shouting, carrying an assault rifle in takeover of Chase Bank

An excited, black-masked man who robbed North Bend's branch of Chase Bank Friday July 6 was packing some serious firepower.

The King County Sheriff's Office today (Friday, July 13) released video of the robbery, which showed the man, carrying a black assault rifle, presumably an AK-47, with a drum-style magazine. He entered the bank at 5:53 p.m., displaying the weapon and shouting demands, North Bend Police Chief Mark Toner said.

There were three bank employees and three customers inside the bank at the time. No one was hurt and the suspect escaped with an undisclosed amount of cash.

He is described as 5'10" to 6' tall, with a heavy build, dark hair and "very hairy" forearms. He wore a ski mask, a black and gray striped long-sleeved shirt with the sleeves pushed up, baggy jeans and dark boots, and left the bank in a reddish Jeep SUV.

Police are taking the incident very seriously, not because the robber used an assault rifle, but because it was a take-over style robbery, Toner said.

We have found that this style of robbery is particularly dangerous," Toner said. "You can accidentally shoot somebody very easily when you're walking around like that… excited and yelling. He might never have intended to shoot anyone, but it could happen."

Friday's incident was the first take-over robbery in the city, Toner added. Two previous bank robberies, Bank of America in 2001 and Sterling Savings in 1997, were both done with notes to the teller.

The suspect's use of an assault rifle will not affect the charges laid against him when he's captured.

"It doesn't matter if it's a toy pistol or a real rifle, if you come in with what people believe to be a real firearm, it's an armed robbery," Toner said.

Armed robbery (robbery in the first degree) is a Class A felony, with a minimum sentence of 31-41 months in jail.

Chase Bank representatives could not comment on the case, nor could Sheriff's Office personnel or FBI staff. More information may be released when investigators determine whether state or federal charges will be filed, according to Seattle FBI spokesperson Ayn Dietrich.

If you have information about the incident or the suspect, call the King County Major Crimes unit of the sheriff's office, at (206) 296-7530.

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