Tellers at a Medford U.S. Bank branch on North Phoenix Road saw a familiar face waiting in line Saturday afternoon.
The employees recognized Christopher Ryan Wood, who reportedly robbed the branch, which is housed inside an Albertson's, two times before.
Wood, 30, was waiting in line with other customers when he caught he attention of the bank tellers. They decided to hit a silent alarm and then stall Wood as police raced to the scene, Medford police Lt. Mike Budreau said.
"They actually confronted him in line and asked if they could help him," Budreau said. "He told them he was there to open an account, but then he grew anxious and fled."
The bank employees were sure they had their man, as Wood was wearing the same clothes from the previous robbery, Budreau said.
Wood fled down a pedestrian path off the Albertson's parking lot and was on his way to his silver Mercedes to make his escape.
What he didn't know was that the arriving officers were prepared. After two previous robberies at that location, police have scouted out the most likely escape path.
They would be ready the next time the alarm sounded, Budreau said.
"He had a strategy that he used every time," Budreau said. "Unfortunately, it proved to be his demise on Saturday."
Medford police Sgt. Kerry Curtis apprehended Wood at his car, which was parked within sight of the store's parking lot.
Wood was cooperative with detectives who arrived a short time later, telling them he was responsible for four previous bank robberies in Medford, Budreau said.
Wood is believed to be responsible for two recent robberies at the Sterling Savings Bank on Stewart Avenue and the two at the U.S. Bank.
The U.S. Bank robberies happened on Dec. 1 and Dec. 30. The Sterling Savings Bank heists occurred on Dec. 21 and Jan. 25, Budreau said.
"He had a definite pattern," Budreau said. "He robbed the U.S. Banks on Saturdays and the Sterling Banks on Fridays. He was consistent."
Wood has no criminal history and is not believed to have robbed the banks to feed a drug habit, Budreau said.
"There is no set profile for bank robbers," Budreau said. "You have some committed by elderly people and others who have drug habits. It doesn't surprise us that a seemingly normal person without a criminal history would just start robbing banks."
Budreau declined to comment on what spurred Wood to begin holding up banks.
"We think he was going to continue to do this until he was caught," Budreau said. "He was getting a good amount of money from the robberies."
Wood, who lives in the 1800 block of Sara Way in Medford, was lodged in the Jackson County Jail on four charges of second-degree robbery.
No weapon was seen during any of his crimes, Budreau said.
Budreau praised the bank employees, who were no doubt startled by Wood's return.
"We commend the employees for recognizing the suspect and trying to delay him so there wasn't a fifth bank robbery," Budreau said. "This had happened to them a couple of times before, so they were on heightened alert."
— Chris Conrad