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Blow-torch Bandit busted

by: DAVID F. ASHTON - A suspect had expected to get rich quickly by burning his way into this ATM machine. It didnt work. Now hes in jail. 32-year-old Mark George Fischer probably won’t go down in the Portland Police Bureau (PPB) annals as a “criminal genius”.

Central Precinct officers became better acquainted with Fischer after a citizen reported that he was “trying to burn a U.S. Bank ATM” on S.E. 36th Place, just south of Powell Boulevard, on March 2nd at 2:59 am.

While on their way to the location, officers were informed that Fischer had tried using a torch to cut into the ATM – but failed, and had then turned and walked away, carrying a backpack.

“As an officer approached the suspect, he turned and sprayed a liquid towards the officer, but missed him,” recounted PPB Public Information Officer Sgt. Pete Simpson. “The suspect dropped his backpack, which contained an acetylene torch and a stun gun, and took off running.”

After a brief foot chase, Fischer gave up. But, when officers searched him, they found he’d come to the caper well equipped. “He was wearing two ballistic vests – and had multiple ballistic panels sewn into his undergarments, providing him with ballistic covering down his arms, legs, buttocks, and crotch area,” described Simpson.

Fischer was also armed with a large knife. The liquid he’d sprayed at the officer turned out to be pepper spray. Fischer was booked into the Multnomah County Detention Center on charges of Felon in Possession of Body Armor, Attempted Aggravated Theft in the First Degree, Attempted Assault on a Police Officer, Attempted Escape in the Third Degree, Interfering with a Peace Officer, Menacing, and Possession of Burglary Tools.

In lieu of $10,000 bail, Fischer remains in custody at the Multnomah County Inverness Jail.