Brazen bank robbers stole the spotlight in 2009
By ANDREW BINION
North Kitsap Herald Staff Writer
December 24, 2009 · Updated 12:48 PM
Faith in banks down, bank robberies up
If public confidence in banks plummeted in 2009, the confidence of bank robbers in North Kitsap soared.
Five bank robberies were reported in North Kitsap, four within two months of each other earlier in the year and one in Kingston to round out the year.
It’s a common story in Washington, which had the Western U.S.’s second-highest number of bank robberies in 2006, according to FBI statistics. Of the 13 Western states, only California had more than Washington’s 264.
One of the robbers, still at large, was nicknamed “Man Hands.” The thief was described as a man dressed as a woman, who is known to have hit banks on the east side of the Puget Sound.
“Man Hands,” named after a character from the “Seinfeld” television show, robbed the Kitsap Credit Union’s Poulsbo branch on April 14. The credit union was pilfered again June 1. That suspect remains at large as well.
Those who didn’t get away with it include the man who robbed Westsound Bank April 7, and the gun-wielding pair that knocked over the American Marine Bank in Central Market May 21.
The latest bank job came Dec. 21, when a man threatened employees of the Kingston Bank of America with a bomb before fleeing on foot. As of Tuesday morning, the man had not been caught.
Poulsbo grows its population by counting its people correctly
After correcting an accounting error — first noticed by a North Kitsap resident — the city of Poulsbo added up its population to discover it is the third largest city in the county and 86th in the state.
Poulsbo grew by about 1,000 to reach 8,855, although the increase in people was due to Jan Wold, who noticed the city had been misreporting population numbers to the state Office of Financial Management since 2001.
It’s not just bragging rights, the numbers help determine how much money the city gets from the state and federal government. Wold informed the city of its error at the start of the year and estimated the city missed out on about $100,000.
In gaining the newer, more accurate numbers, Poulsbo beat out Port Orchard to weigh in behind Bremerton and Bainbridge Island.
Former mayor faces felonies
Former Poulsbo Mayor Richard Mitchusson was arrested in March after being accused of making unwanted and aggressive advances toward women, one of whom was bedridden.
The investigation of Mitchusson led officers to dozens of alleged victims who reported Mitchusson’s increasingly erratic behavior.
When questioned by an officer about the allegations, Mitchusson denied that he had made the unwelcome advances and denied groping the women. He said that he was raised in Oklahoma, and “hugging was just what they did,” court documents said.
He was charged with two counts of fourth-degree assault, and one charge each of stalking and indecent liberties.
A trial date had been set for the summer — that came and went. Evaluations have been ordered to determine Mitchusson’s competency to stand trial and he’s due back in court for a status hearing Jan. 21.
Mathew Clucas, Mitchusson’s attorney, said Monday Mitchusson may suffer from a rare degenerative brain disease called Pick’s Disease, which could explain his behavior. Pick’s Disease is only diagnosable by autopsy, he said.
Part of the reason for the delay is a recurrence of Mitchusson’s prostate cancer, Clucas said. The treatment schedule has interfered with the mental health evaluations.
“I think we were optimistic we would have this resolved before now,” Clucas said.
Clucas said Mitchusson is released into the custody of his wife and adult children.
Mitchusson, 70, served as mayor from 1985 to 1999, and served as staff for the city since 1975.
$6 million borrowed for new City Hall
The new Poulsbo City Hall leaped its last hurdle in March when the City Council approved about $6 million in borrowing to help pay for the $15.9 million project in downtown.
The project has been a point of contention in the city, from whether it should be built in or out of downtown — the pubContact North Kitsap Herald Staff Writer Andrew Binion at firstname.lastname@example.org or (360) 779-4464.