BELLINGHAM The same man who robbed the Fairhaven branch of Banner Bank last month and rode away on a bicycle apparently has struck again.
The bank, located at 1414 12th St., was robbed for the second time in a month Tuesday afternoon, Aug. 21.
A man with a black ponytail and lacy scarf around his face entered the bank about 1:23 p.m.
Employees immediately recognized the man as the same suspect who robbed the bank in July and activated the holdup alarm, according to Bellingham police.
Unlike the July robbery, in which the suspect displayed a semi-automatic pistol, the robber on Tuesday did not show any weapon when he demanded money from the teller.
The man left on a black-and-white bicycle. Police reached the scene within four minutes but the man had already left with an undisclosed amount of cash.
A helicopter and ground search ensued, with FBI and U.S. Customs and Border Protection helping Bellingham police as they searched for the suspect for two hours. Searchers were unable to locate the suspect.
Police found the bicycle believed to have been used in the getaway next to Lower Padden Creek west of Bellingham Tennis Club, Eighth Street and McKenzie Avenue, about an hour after the robbery.
Witnesses described the suspect as a thin white male in his late 20s or early 30s, about 5 feet 8 inches tall.
He had a long black ponytail and was wearing a dark baseball cap, a sky blue jersey-style shirt with dark blue sleeves, dark pants, and dark shoes with white soles. He might have a goatee and mustache.
A man by the same description robbed the same bank July 25. Police searched from downtown Bellingham to Teddy Bear Cove with the help of a federal border helicopter, but were unable to locate the suspect. In that case, the suspect left the bank on a red mountain bike.
Banner Bank officials declined comment on the robbery Tuesday afternoon.
Anyone with information about either robbery is asked to call the Bellingham Police Department, 360-778-8800.
Reach SAMANTHA WOHLFEIL at email@example.com or 360-715-2264.