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Suspected bank robber arrested in river

Thu., July 21, 2011

A convicted child rapist and suspected bank robber was pulled from the Spokane River on Wednesday 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.

Officers were alerted to Wideman’s car 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.

He was booked into jail on suspicion of first-degree bank robbery, and police recovered a gun and money from the heist.

Wideman is a level 2 sex offender with a conviction in 2009 for third-degree rape of a child.

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