Medford police officer Michael Wulff, left and Sgt. Mark Boone search for a suspect in a Key Bank robbery on Barnett Road in Medford on Thursday. Mail Tribune / Julia Moore - Julia Moore

Man armed with 'Uzi-style' gun robs Medford bank

The hunt is on for two men suspected in an armed robbery of a Key Bank branch Thursday afternoon on East Barnett Road in Medford.

A white man, about 5 feet 9 inches tall, wearing a knit cap, a camouflage shirt and baggy pants showed an Uzi-style submachine gun and fled the bank at the corner of Black Oak Drive and Barnett Road with what Deputy Chief Tim George described as "a significant amount of cash."

"Our bad guy had some help in this one," George said.

The robber had a getaway driver, police said. A suspicious man was seen in the area in a white, four-wheel-drive Dodge pickup, which police are still looking for.

"We think the suspect escaped in this truck," George said.

Police swarmed a southeast Medford neighborhood after reports suggested the suspect fled across East Barnett Road and was seen near an apartment complex.

A police tracking dog was called to the area and sniffed through the complex, but was unable to locate a suspect. Officers taped off the bank while detectives and FBI agents spoke with witnesses.

"Obviously there are some pretty shaken-up people inside that bank," George said. "Fortunately, no one was injured."

As detectives collected more statements, they learned the truck was fitted with a canopy and might have had red lettering on one side reading "sport." It also had chrome rims, George said.

"If we find that truck we find our bad guys," George said.

A PremierWest bank on the same corner was robbed in September by a man also suspected in California bank robberies. He remains at large.

George wouldn't speculate whether the two crimes were related.

"We will look into that, but it's too early to say for sure," George said.

Southern Oregon has seen its share of bank robberies in recent months. In addition to the East Barnett Road heists, a Sterling Savings Bank branch on McAndrews Road in Medford was hit in November.

That suspect brandished a silver-colored handgun and shouted at employees and customers. He stuffed an undisclosed amount of money into a green bag and ran from the bank, police said.

In December, a PremierWest Bank branch near the YMCA in Ashland was robbed by a masked man who displayed a handgun and took cash from three tellers before fleeing the scene.

Bank robberies can provide fast cash for criminals. FBI statistics show that banks are where robbers get the biggest hauls. In 2009, the average loss in a bank robbery nationwide was $4,029, according to the FBI's Uniform Crime Reporting Program. The average for all robberies was $1,244.

Anyone with information on Thursday's robbery is asked to call Medford police detectives at 541-774-2230.

Reach reporter Chris Conrad at 541-776-4471; or e-mail

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