Sep 262002
Authors: Vince Blaser

Shots were exchanged between police and two suspects involved in a high-speed chase after a bank robbery in Loveland Thursday.

This type of situation is traumatic for all the people involved,” said Sgt. Tim Brown of the Loveland Police Department. “Every piece of information has been critical.”

At approximately 2:35 p.m., a single male suspect with a ski mask covering his face entered a 1ST Bank in Loveland, located at 2845 Linden Court. He displayed a firearm, ordered everyone inside the bank to the floor and obtained an undisclosed amount of cash, Brown said. Nobody was hurt at the bank.

The suspect then fled the bank on foot across Linden Court to a waiting vehicle and driver. The two suspects then took off north on U.S. Highway 287, which is College Avenue in Fort Collins. An off-duty firefighter witnessed the robbery and immediately called LPD when the suspects left, Brown said. LPD then worked in conjunction with the Larimer County Sheriff’s Department and Fort Collins Police Services in a high-speed chase to apprehend the suspects.

Lt. Karen Carlson of FCPS said gunshots were fired during the chase. Neither Carlson nor Brown could confirm the number or nature of the shots. Nobody was hurt as a result of the gunfire, Brown said.

The chase was slowed because of an accident near the intersection of Lemay and Brittany streets, just north of Trilby Road, Brown said. One of the suspects then fled the vehicle on foot, while the other continued driving. The driver then crashed into a vehicle driven by a 57-year-old woman from Fort Collins at the intersection of Harmony Road and Larimer County Road 7.

Both the suspect and the woman were transferred to Poudre Valley Hospital, Carlson said. She said injuries to both the suspect and the woman were not life-threatening.

The suspect that fled on foot remained at-large for more than 90 minutes. Police blocked off both Lemay Street and Trilby Road near their intersection for a couple of hours. Police pulled “a reverse 911” while the suspect was still at-large, where police called the homes in the neighborhoods near where the suspect fled, Carlson said.

“(Safety of residents) was a big concern,” she said. “We wanted (residents) to stay inside and lock their doors.”

SWAT teams from FCPS, LCSD and LPD were also called to the scene. The suspect was finally apprehended by LCSD at the Safeway located at1426 Harmony Road, Carlson said.

Local residents and police had an additional reason for concern because of a bank robbery that occurred earlier in the day in Norfolk, Neb. where five people were shot to death and the suspects remained at large for hours.

“It certainly raises the hairs on everybody’s necks,” Brown said. “We are very pleased we did not have (the same situation as Nebraska) here.”

However, the bank robbery did put a big scare into many Loveland and Fort Collins residents.

Michelle O’Fiele, a 21-year-old resident of Loveland, had worked at the US Bank for a year and half and had just quit in July. She said she never experienced any robbery while she worked at the US Bank and was concerned for her friends when she heard of the robbery.

“It’s terrifying,” O’Fiele said, adding she was “very relieved” when she heard nobody was hurt during the robbery.

Police are not releasing the identities of the suspects in the case or the identity of the woman injured in the crash. One of the suspects is in custody at PVH, the other was taken to FCPS for questioning and then to the Larimer County Detention Center where he will be held, Carlson said.

There are multiple investigations ongoing by LCPD, FCPS and LPD, Brown said. Both Brown and Carlson said cooperation between police departments and with citizens were excellent despite the multitude of information in a short period of time.

“(LPD’s) big thing is to thank the citizens and other law enforcement,” Brown said.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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