Nearby middle school kept on lock down as police follow up on leads with serial bank robber suspect at large

SPOTLIGHT PHOTO: DARRYL SWAN - A Scappoose police officer strings police tape around the perimeter of US Bank in Scappoose following a Tuesday morning robbery. Scappoose Middle School is visible in the distance.

UPDATE: 6:32 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 30

Investigators believe a knife-wielding man who jumped the counter at the US Bank in Scappoose and grabbed an undisclosed amount of cash before running out Tuesday morning, Jan. 30, is likely the "froggy robber" wanted in connection with four other bank robberies across the state.

Police say witnesses described a short Hispanic man jumping over the counter at 9:44 a.m. Tuesday, while brandishing a knife at the US Bank location on Highway 30, next to Scappoose Middle School.

Tuesday morning's robbery prompted a lockdown of nearby schools, as an area search by Columbia County and state law enforcement officers got underway.

"We did do a lock down of the schools, we did a search, used the dog. We are unable to, at this point in time, find anybody from the dog track, but we are actively working with the FBI and Portland criminal units to come out," said Scappoose Police Chief Norm Miller.

Later Tuesday afternoon, Scappoose School District announced the cancellation of all after-school activities. The district also required all students who walk home to be picked up from school.

"As the District received word that a search for this individual was underway, Petersen Elementary, Grant Watts Elementary and Scappoose High School went into lock out," a letter to parents and guardians of Scappoose School District students stated. "The schools remained on lock out for the remainder of the day. ... As always, our number one priority is the safety of our students."

PHOTO COURTESY OF FBI - A man suspected of being the 'froggy robber' wanted in connection with five robberies in Oregon since November, is caught on surveillance camera at the US Bank in Scappoose. The suspect remains at large.A $10,000 reward is being offered by the FBI for information leading to the suspect's identification, arrest and conviction.

Columbia 911 Communications received the report of the bank robbery at 9:44 a.m.

Miller said while schools in the area were placed on lockdown, there was never any threat to school students or staff. The Scappoose Middle School is located immediately south of the US Bank on Highway 30.

Schools remained on lockdown hours after the robbery as a precautionary measure, Miller said.

"You just never known, and once we figure out, hey, there's not a threat for the kids, we'll open it up," he said. "They're going about their day."

A witness reported the man had boarded a bus to flee the area, but that report was unfounded.

"That's just information coming in from people who are seeing things, and we're just following up on it," Miller said.

The FBI's Portland Division describes the suspect as

"a Hispanic man, approximately 20-40 years of age, 5'3" - 5'5", about 160 pounds."

The robbery suspect was wearing blue pants with a blue hoodie and black shoes at the time of Tuesday's robbery in Scappoose. Authorities say he is considered armed and dangerous. FBI PHOTO - A man believed to be the 'froggy robber' places a backpack on a US Bank counter in Scappoose Tuesday morning, Jan. 30 during a robbery.

It is unknown if the suspect is still in Scappoose, Miller added, but he said a search of the immediate area was no longer active. Investigators continue to canvass the area however, he said.

Only bank employees were present at the time of the robbery, Miller said, and there were no injuries.

"If anybody sees anything, out of the ordinary, we want you to call in and we'll go check it out," he added. "You never know, that one little lead could be the big lead."

If you see the suspect or have any information on the suspect's location, call the FBI at 503-224-4181 or 911.

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