January 28, 2014 in City

Police credit public help in bank robbery arrests

By The Spokesman-Review
 

A tip from a confidential source led police to a quartet of suspects in a pair of Garland neighborhood bank robberies during the past month.

The four men were booked into Spokane County Jail on Friday and face charges of armed robbery stemming from incidents at a U.S. Bank branch Dec. 20 and a Washington Trust Bank location Jan. 3. Witnesses said in each robbery one man directed others to swipe cash from drawers and warned employees not to trigger alarms. Two robbers hit the U.S. Bank, while four were suspected of pulling off the Washington Trust Bank job.

Following the first heist, one of the suspects reportedly laughed at how easy the score had been, according to court documents.

Tyree Wortham, 28, faces two first-degree robbery charges and is accused of brandishing what witnesses thought was a gun beneath his jacket during the incidents.

An acquaintance, who is unnamed in court documents, told detectives Wortham bragged about the robbery and said he’d stashed stolen cash in an alley. The night before the Washington Trust Bank robbery, that same person saw Wortham and the three other suspects, one of them armed, talking quietly. They left on the morning of the bank robbery together in a silver SUV that was later seen at the crime scene, the witness said.

Surveillance footage captured three men at the Jan. 3 robbery at 3810 N. Maple St. An image released by police shortly after the robbery shows a man police identify as Wortham carrying a gun, his face hidden by a mask. A fourth person drove a silver SUV from the scene, according to police.

Following the robbery, Wortham reportedly called the witness and threatened to kill him or her if the witness talked to investigators.

Detectives tracked the getaway car, which was reported stolen, and Friday arrested occupants Adrian Morris, 23, and Darren Morris Jr., 24, who are cousins. Adrian Morris told police he’d been the getaway driver in the second robbery, and a gun thought to be used in the robberies was seized at the Morrises’ home. Police think Darren Morris helped Wortham in both incidents. John Jones, 28, is accused of being the fourth member of the crew.

At a news conference Monday, Spokane police Chief Frank Straub thanked the public for providing video and tips that led to the arrests.

“Without your cooperation and assistance, we would not have been able to solve these robberies,” Straub said.

Jones and Wortham were arrested later Friday. Jones was picked up at Spokane Arena while he was attending a hockey game, Straub said.

The Morrises have no prior felony convictions, according to court records. Wortham was implicated in the sale of a stolen firearm in 2009, but the charges against him were dropped. Jones had been linked to the illegal sale of prescription drugs and served 15 months for robbing and beating a man outside a convenience store in January 2009, according to court records.

Straub said all four suspects are known to law enforcement, some of them as far away as the East Coast. A Spokane judge set bail for each at or above $50,000 on Monday.

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