School didn’t know robbery suspect may have had gun

POULSBO — The school day was almost over.

In about 10 minutes June 7, students would be let out of North Kitsap High School. Then a phone call came.

At the request of a police deputy at 2:17 p.m., CENCOM, the central communication system reached when 911 is dialed, notified school administrators that Key Bank on 10th Avenue, a half-mile from the school, had been robbed.

The call was placed to the school at approximately 2:20 p.m. It came as a typical notification. Principal Judson Miller said notification calls are not uncommon.

What high school adminitrators were not told, however, was the robbery suspect was armed when he was at the bank.

“It wasn’t specific,” Miller said of the call.

It wasn’t until the Herald contacted the school district for information that administrators learned the suspect was potentially armed.

So, the bell rang at 2:30 p.m. and high school students were let out for the day. Police were already in the area. Miller said Poulsbo police were around the campus for about 40 minutes.

Typically, the police will not put a school on lockdown unless they know of a direct threat to students and staff, according to an email from Deputy Police Chief Wendy Davis. The decision to lockdown a school is left up to the school district.

In this case, Davis wrote, there didn’t appear to be a direct threat. She wrote suspects committing these types of crimes “do not hang around,” and they are typically picked up or have a getaway vehicle available.

The staff of North Kitsap High School did not notify the district office of the robbery until about 30-40 minutes after police contacted the high school. Just before 3 p.m., district spokeswoman Robyn Chastain called 911 to ask if schools still in session should be put into lockdown.

Still at large
The suspect was still on the loose Thursday, seven days after the robbery. Deputy Chief Davis wrote “these things are difficult to solve unless someone comes forward with information (a tip) and we can look into it further.”

The bank is located at 19735 10th Avenue NE.

According to a press release from the Poulsbo Police Department, officers were dispatched to the bank at 2:02 p.m.

Officers arrived at 2:07 p.m. and made contact with bank staff.

The suspect fled with $2,782, according to a weekly summary of police activity.

Additional officers responded to the area, a K-9 unit was called to track the suspect. Containment was set for the search.

The Kitsap County Sheriff’s Department and Bainbridge Island Police Department assisted in the response.

The search was conducted with “negative results.” A witness in the area observed the suspect flee on foot toward the area of the old Hollywood Video store. The store is a few buildings down from Key Bank, in the same business complex on 10th Avenue.

The suspect was described as a white male, mid-20s, and approximately 5 feet 8 inches in height. He has a medium build with short, light-brown hair. The suspect was wearing a dirty white Hurley brand ball cap, a dark-gray DC brand hooded-sweatshirt with light-gray stripes; a white T-shirt, blue jeans and tennis shoes. The suspect placed black tape over his upper lip before entering the bank.

He displayed a black, semi-automatic handgun to Key Bank tellers, according to police.

Anyone with information regarding the robbery can cal Poulsbo Police Department Detective David Gesell (360) 394-9783.


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