Two men are in custody after reportedly robbing a Poulsbo bank and being pursued by Kitsap County deputies — that’s right pursued — before being apprehended.
It was later confirmed that the two men reportedly have been involved in multiple bank robberies and retail theft investigations in Gig Harbor and Pierce County. It was also determined that the vehicle, a red Nissan pickup, was stolen out of Tacoma.
While being taken into custody, the driver asked the arresting deputy why they were allowed to continue the chase, assuming they would not. The deputy responded that the men had committed a violent felony, and law allows for pursuit under those circumstances.
The 31- and 28-year-old Tacoma men were booked into Kitsap County Jail on suspicion of first-degree robbery and attempting to elude. The younger one also was booked on outstanding warrants; the other for possession of a stolen motor vehicle.
Kitsap County Sheriff John Gese noted that he has lobbied state lawmakers for the passage of Senate Bill 5919, which would have implemented practical changes in the state’s restrictive pursuit law.
“This incident is one of numerous recent examples of the effects of the new pursuit law that seems to have emboldened criminals and potentially encourages them to drive dangerously and recklessly to evade capture,” a KCSO news release states.
On Tuesday afternoon, Poulsbo police were dispatched to First Security Bank. A robbery had just occurred, and the suspect and a getaway driver had fled in an older red pickup with a black tailgate. They were reported to have stolen $7,000.
Less than five minutes later, a sheriff’s deputy noticed the truck traveling south on state Highway 3 near Trigger Avenue, the news release says. The deputy followed it, but once the suspects recognized him, they began to drive recklessly and accelerated at a high rate of speed. That type of driving is a tactic suspects use to evade police—knowing they probably will not pursue them due to perceived restrictions in the state’s pursuit laws.
Per the news release, the deputy received permission to pursue the suspects as it met the criteria for pursuits as the crime was reported as a violent felony.
Deputies pursued the vehicle for several miles through Silverdale before using a Pursuit Intervention Technique maneuver on Newberry Hill Road near Provost Road to end the chase after the suspect vehicle had “rear ended” another vehicle, and they tried to flee again.
Poulsbo police were notified of the arrest, and they responded. Evidence was located, including loose cash.