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Female suspect of attempted Silverdale bank robbery says unknown men 'made her' do it
The female suspect who attempted to rob a Silverdale Bank Thursday that caused an hour-and-a-half standoff claimed that she was "forced" into the situation by unknown male suspects, according to a statement from the Kitsap County Sheriff's Office. There were no reported injuries.
The suspect, a 34-year-old Bremerton woman, entered KeyBank at 9338 Silverdale Way NW alone Thursday afternoon and handed a note to a bank employee. It was reported to the sheriff's office that the note stated the woman had a bomb and demanded a specific amount of money.
The woman was in a private office within the bank building as she spoke with the bank employee about her demands. Other bank employees and patrons left the building as she talked to the bank employee.
Sheriff's patrol deputies were on scene at 2:43 p.m. after the 9-1-1 dispatch was notified of the attempted robbery at 2:41 p.m. The Washington State Patrol Interagency Bomb Squad arrived at 3:30 p.m.
For safety, the 9300 block of Silverdale Way was closed from NW Bucklin Hill Road to NW Byron Street. Nearby businesses evacuated or closed for the day.
Nino Bokuku, 37, said he got off work at the Olive Garden at 3 p.m. and traffic was backed up on Randall Way. He parked his car in the parking lot of Grocery Outlet, across the street from KeyBank, and was later told by a sheriff's deputy to move his car further away.
"He told me the area needed to be cleared. It's surprising to me that something like this would happen in the middle of the day," Bokuku said.
The sheriff's SWAT personnel was able to talk to the suspect via the sheriff's office phone line.
The woman said that unknown males contacted her at her home and said that her son, at a local elementary school, was in danger if she did not cooperate with their requests. The suspect claimed that they "made her" wear an explosive device and instructed her to drive to the bank and pass the note demanding money. She said that these unknown males were watching the bank as well as the school.
Sheriff's patrol deputies notified school administrators and the school was placed into temporary lockdown. Deputies went to the school and took the woman's son into protective custody at 3:07 p.m.
During phone negotiations with the woman, she agreed that a bomb squad explosive ordnance technician could check her to determine if explosives were physically attached to her.
At 3:49 p.m., a bomb squad technician entered the bank and determined that the woman was not in possession of an explosive device. The woman agreed to walk out of the building and she was taken into custody by sheriff's SWAT personnel at 4:14 p.m. and turned over into the custody of sheriff's detectives for investigations.
State patrol bomb squad technicians entered the bank and found no explosives. The sheriff's SWAT team also cleared the building and found no other people inside.
The bank was turned over to sheriff's detectives and FBI special agents as part of the investigation process. The Bremerton Police Department, Central Kitsap Fire and Rescue and Kitsap Transit provided additional assistance at the scene.
Silverdale Way was re-opened around 5:20 p.m.
Sharon Turner, 59, who had intended to go shopping at Grocery Outlet thought that there was a car wreck that had caused all the traffic backup.
"You never think nothing like this would happen," she said. "I've lived here all my life."