Northwest NEWS

July 26, 1999

Front Page

Chief: Teamwork instrumental in catching bank robbery suspect

   by Lisa Allen, Valley View editor

   DUVALL--Police Chief Glenn Merryman has credited coordinated action by area police units for the quick apprehension of a suspect after Seafirst Bank was robbed on the afternoon of July 20.

   "I have never seen such a display of teamwork," he said last week. "Within 15 minutes of receiving the call, there were 15 units in town, canvassing the businesses. It's the key reason the suspect was caught and the evidence recovered."

   He also gave credit to the bank tellers who were able to offer a complete description of the suspect, which led to his apprehension just 40 minutes after the robbery.

   The suspect, Thomas Scott Kriehn, a 39-year-old transient whose last known address was in Edmonds, was charged last Friday in King County Superior Court with second-degree robbery.

   According to court documents, the suspect allegedly approached a Seafirst teller at around 3:15 p.m., handing her a transaction slip which demanded money and indicated he had a gun. He also warned her verbally not to say anything. The teller complied and the subject fled the bank, heading southbound on Main St., police said.

   Merryman said officers from Duvall, Carnation, the King County Sheriff's Office, and the Puget Sound Violent Crime Task Force responded, and began a "containment operation" which included canvassing businesses in town.

   He said that Carnation Officer Chad Devore, while searching businesses in the south end of town, spotted a man matching the description of the suspect in Ixtapa Restaurant. The man, later identified as Kriehn, then left the restaurant and Devore found him in the parking lot hiding between two cars, prosecutors said.

   The police report stated that Devore noted the man's pockets were bulging, and asked for his identification. When the man reached into his pocket, a large wad of $20 bills came out. The suspect then turned and ran southbound on Main Street, crossing the street and running into the blackberry bushes, Merryman said.

   When Devore caught up to Kriehn and grabbed him, Kriehn turned and punched Devore in the face, police said. Devore then pushed him to the ground and sprayed him with pepper spray. They both then rolled down an embankment where Kriehn continuted to struggle, the police report said. Merryman said Sgt. Bob Akey then arrived on the scene, and helped Devore place the suspect into custody.

   The police report stated that a total of $241 was located in Kriehn's pockets. A Redmond K-9 officer came with his dog and found the remainder of the money hidden in the brush. A total of $2,361 was recovered from the bushes, according to the report.

   Bail for Kriehn has been set at $50,000. He has a previous felony conviction for second-degree burglary and is presently awaiting sentencing on charges of residential burglary and unlawful possession of a firearm, for which he pleaded guilty. He also has misdemeanor convictions for hit and run, theft, and criminal trespass.