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Banner Bank completes purchase of Liberty Lake AmericanWest Bank branch

Spokane-based Banner Bank today has completed the purchase of an AmericanWest Bank branch in Liberty Lake.

The branch is at 1221 N. Liberty Lake Road and its current staff of four will join the Banner group, a press release noted.

As part of the transition, Banner is closing a current branch housed in a nearby grocery store and relocating that branch staff into the former AmericanWest building.

Robbery suspect sought ‘loony bin’ spot

A man accused of robbing a downtown Spokane bank told police he didn't have a place to stay and wanted to return to a mental hospital, according to court documents.

Donnie Wayne Snow, Jr., 45, was arrested Friday after a robbery at Banner Bank, 508 W. 3rd Ave., about 5:23 p.m.

Employees said he entered the bank and said “Hey ladies, I'm here to rob your bank. Give me all your money,” Spokane police allege. He left with $1,684 - police noted in court documents the presence of two $2 bills - and was arrested a short while later near 3rd and Lincoln.

Police say Snow told them “I did it because I need a place to stay and want to go back to the loony bin.”

Snow is in jail on $20,000 bond after appearing in Superior Court Monday on a first-degree robbery charge.

$100k bond for robbery, bomb suspect

A U.S. Marshal guides a dog around parked vehicles outside Banner Bank in downtown Spokane after a bomb threat by a robbery suspect Tuesday. (SRPhot/Dan Pelle)

A man accused of making a bomb threat while robbing a downtown Spokane bank on Tuesday remains in jail on $100,000 bond.

Shawn P. Hoffman, 31, handed a bank teller a note claiming he had a bomb that would detonate if she called police, according to court documents.

Hoffman also told Spokane police there was a bomb inside the bank and a man outside with a trigger who would detonate it if they went outside, documents allege, prompting road closures and evacuations.

Detective Paul Lebsock was near the bank when the robbery was reported and held Hoffman at gunpoint before taking him to the ground. Cash flew out of Hoffman's clothes during the take down, police say.

Even in interviews with FBI and police after his arrest, officials say, Hoffman continued to claim a bomb was in the bank, but a sweep turned up empty.

Hoffman appeared in Superior Court Thursday on charges of first-degree robbery and threats to bomb or harm property.

DNA identifies suspect in ‘09 robbery

DNA found on a sweatshirt has helped police identify a suspect in a two-year-old bank robbery.

A Spokane County sheriff's detective obtained a new DNA sample from Rodney R. Phillips, 48, on Wednesday to verify a match noted by the Washington State Patrol crime lab last month.

Phillips is in prison in Walla Walla for robberies in Western Washington. He was arrested July 4, 2009.
Banner Bank at 1521 N. Argonne Road in Spokane Valley was robbed June 18, 2009, by a man wearing a 2002 Lady Royals sweatshirt and Spokane Riverhawks hat. Both items were discarded near East Sinto Avenue and North Sargent Road the next day.
Surveillance photos show Phillips' preferred outfit in robberies in  Snohomish and King counties was a hooded sweatshirt, hat and sunglasses, according to a search warrant used to obtain Phillips' DNA sample.
Police are awaiting the results of the new DNA test before sending the case to prosecutors.

Banner Bank’s Jones retires

Long-time Spokane banker D. Michael Jones has stepped down as chairman and chief executive officer of Banner Bank and Banner Corp.

He will be succeeded at the Walla Walla bank and holding company by Mark Grescovich, who has been president of both entities since July.

Jones, 68, will remain a corporate and bank director.

Jones was president of Old National Bank before it was purchased by U.S. Bank in 1987, and Source Capital before it was acquired by Sterling Financial Corp. in 2001. ONB and Source were based in Spokane. 

Banner purchased F&M Bank of Rockford in 2006, four years after Jones joined the Walla Walla institution, which in June completed a $162 million stock offering. 

Wigged woman sought in 2 bank robberies

A woman who wore a red wig to rob a Spokane bank in late June may have struck again this week.

A robber matching the description of the culprit in the June 30 heist at Banner Bank, 933 E. Mission, stole an undisclosed amount of cash from Banner Bank, 3919 N. Market, just before 1 p.m. Monday, Spokane police announced Wednesday.

The woman did not display a weapon and appears to have worn a black wig (left). 

Police say she appeared 45 to 50 years old, 5-foot-5 with black hair and dark sunglasses.

In the June 30 robbery, police say the same woman wore a wig and sunglasses (left, right) while demanding cash from  employees at the bank,  which is located inside a Safeway grocery store.

Crime Stoppers is offering a reward for tips that lead to an arrest.

Anyone with information on the woman is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS or submit tips online.

Tipsters don’t have to leave their name to collect a reward but should leave a code name or number.

The woman is the second alleged serial bank robber operating in Spokane. The FBI still is looking for a bicycle-riding bandit linked to six robberies since December.

Photos show woman robbing Spokane bank

Spokane police are still looking for a woman robbed a bank inside a Spokane grocery store on Wednesday. 

The woman left with an undisclosed cash after threatening a teller at Banner Bank in Safeway, 933 E. Mission, about 1:25 p.m., police said.

The robber is described as a white, 45 to 50, 5-foot-5, heavy set and wearing red hair and dark sunglasses.

She fled out the north door of the store. Police converged on the area but haven’t located a suspect. 

The same bank was robbed in February.

Douglas E. Labish, already convicted of three bank robberies in 2002, is set to enter a plea for that robbery on July 8.

Anyone with information on today’s robbery is asked to call Crime Check at (509) 456-2233.

Do you recognize this bank robber?

A man robbed a bank inside an east Spokane grocery store today.

The robber pictured above entered the Banner Bank at Safeway, 933 E. Mission, about 5:26 p.m. and left with cash.

He’s described as 5-foot-5 to 5-foot-8 and wore a dark, puffy Carhart jacket.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Check at (509) 456-2233.