Bank robbery arrest includes Medford link

EUGENE — A man arrested in Eugene in connection with a bank robbery has been indicted by a federal grand jury on charges that he robbed multiple banks in Oregon, including one in Medford, in a spree attributed to the "Grandpa Bandit."

Ferrell Lee Brier of Drain, 60, is charged with the March 18 Bank of America branch robbery in Medford, and Medford police are investigating whether he is linked to an April 20 robbery at Liberty Bank on Barnett Road.

Eugene police arrested Brier after $939 was taken from an Umpqua Bank branch May 3 in Eugene. He is charged with that robbery. An affidavit filed in U.S. District Court by FBI agent Ryan Dwyer says Brier told police he was responsible for several bank robberies.

The reason he gave Eugene police for robbing the Eugene bank was "stupidity."

The FBI was offering a $15,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the "Grandpa Bandit."

The indictment issued Wednesday charges Brier with bank robberies at Key Bank in Salem on Oct. 14; Bank of America in Salem on Oct. 29; Bank of America in Sherwood on Dec. 2; Bank of America in West Linn on Dec. 10; and Bank of America in Hillsboro on Dec. 22.

The Bank of America branch in Medford was robbed at around 4 p.m. March 18. In that robbery, the suspect wore a khaki-colored vest, blue jeans and a baseball cap with a white circle-type logo. He fled with an undisclosed amount of money. Although he did not show a weapon in the Medford robbery, he has threatened tellers in previous robberies, police said.

Medford police also are investigating whether the "Grandpa Bandit" is linked to an April 20 robbery at the Liberty Bank branch at 295 E. Barnett Road. The robber handed a demand note to a teller just before 10 a.m. and lifted up his blue windbreaker to show a black revolver he had tucked into the front of his jeans, pulling the gun out just a little, according to police. The teller handed over an undisclosed amount of money and the suspect left the bank. No other customers were in the bank at the time of the robbery.

Brier allegedly stole a total of $36,693 in the seven holdups, according to the indictment.

He is accused of carrying a Smith & Wesson .45-caliber revolver during the robberies. Investigators recovered a loaded .45-caliber gun from Brier's car when he was arrested in Eugene, Dwyer's affidavit states.

Brier reportedly told police he had planned "to use the gun to commit suicide if police showed up" at the Eugene bank, the affidavit states.

He is being held in the Lane County Jail and is scheduled to be arraigned Monday, June 7, in U.S. District Court in Eugene.

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