Suspected bank robber arrested in Spokane River
A convicted child rapist and suspected bank robber was pulled from the Spokane River today after leading police on a chase into a cemetery.
Lawrence A. Wideman, 43, was driving a car matching the description of a getaway vehicle used in a robbery at Wells Fargo at North Monroe Street and West Francis Avenue about 9:45 a.m. when police started following him. Wideman drove through a metal gate and took a paved road around the cemetery to the river, where he jumped in only to be arrested by officers, Spokane police Officer Teresa Fuller said.
Police had been alerted to Wideman’s car and license plate number by a woman who saw him running southbound on Monroe with “an orange powder billowing from something he was carrying” before getting into the vehicle, police said. The woman turned her car around and followed Wideman long enough to get his license plate number.
Wideman was booked into jail for first-degree bank robbery. Police recovered the gun and money from the robbery and are obtaining a search warrant for Wideman’s car.
Wideman is a level 2 sex offender with a conviction in 2009 for third-degree rape of a child. He was sentenced to 21 months in prison.
Wideman has several tattoos, including the phrase “God forgives. Outlaws don’t.” on his left shoulder, according to the Spokane County sex offender registry.
He already is on probation after pleading guilty in April to failing to register as a sex offender.