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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Bank robbery suspect wrestled to ground in Hillyard

After the bank next door was robbed for the second time in just over a month, a Hillyard businessman chased the suspect down Friday and held him to the ground until police showed up.

“They take care of us, we take care of them,” said Paul Hamilton of Allstate Insurance, next to Horizon Credit Union in Hillyard.

Just before 5 p.m. a man entered the bank and demanded money before running out the door, said Spokane police Cpl. Tom Lee.

After a frantic customer told Hamilton what was going on, he ran outside as the suspect was leaving.

“When my eyes locked on his, I had no choice,” Hamilton said.

He and another man chased the suspect for several blocks. When it looked like the suspect would get away, Hamilton said he stopped a car for help.

“I said ‘I need a ride, a bank’s just been robbed,’ ” Hamilton said.

The driver let him in, they caught up to the suspect, and Hamilton took him to the ground. He said he used a wrestling move to hold him until police arrived.

The man who was arrested had a bag with a considerable amount of cash in it under his shirt, Hamilton said.

A lifelong Hillyard resident, Hamilton is the director of the Market Street Market and has advocated for numerous neighborhood causes.

As an insurance agent, he said he gets calls all the time from people who have been robbed.

“I’m tired of the violation,” he said. “We’re tired of being ripped off.”

Police identified the man arrested Friday as William J. Lawrence, 46. He was booked into jail on suspicion of second-degree robbery.