Robber hits Phoenix bank

It was town's first bank robbery in recent years

There have been a half-dozen bank robberies in Jackson County during 2013 but, until Monday afternoon, none in Phoenix.

Until a man wearing a black hoodie and ski mask entered the Umpqua Bank branch at 4000 S. Pacific Highway, no Phoenix bank had been robbed in recent memory.

"I've been here since October 2005 and this is the first robbery in the city limits of Phoenix," said Police Chief Derek Bowker. A review of Mail Tribune electronic archives showed no bank robberies in Phoenix dating back to 1992.

Multiple police agencies and a tracking dog were hunting for a bank robber as darkness fell over the Rogue Valley.

Investigators said a white male between 5 feet 10 inches and 6 feet tall walked into the bank carrying a white plastic Walmart bag just before 3:40 p.m.

Bowker said the robber didn't speak to three other customers in the bank, but went to a teller and demanded the bag be filled with money within 60 seconds. The man kept one hand inside the pocket of his hooded sweatshirt, but witnesses didn't know if he had a weapon, police said.

Bowker said the robber got an unknown amount of money, then ran from the bank, crossed the parking lot and fled west on Rose Street toward Barnum Drive.

Two hours after the robbery, a police dog was tracking the suspect along the Central Oregon & Pacific Railroad tracks on the northwest edge of town.

Bowker said the mask covered everything but the robber's eyes and the bridge of his nose. The teller described him as white and said he spoke with a slight accent.

Phoenix and Talent police, one Jacksonville officer who was training with Phoenix, Oregon State Police and Jackson County sheriff's deputies responded.

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