Man pleads not guilty in Umpqua Bank heist

MEDFORD — A man suspected of robbing an Umpqua Bank branch in Medford after first helping himself to the bank's free coffee pleaded not guilty in Jackson County Circuit Court Wednesday.

Phuc Vance Nguyen, 33, was arraigned before Judge Patricia Crain on a single felony count of second-degree robbery and a single felony count of first-degree theft.

Nguyen was arrested about two minutes after a robbery was reported at the bank at 220 E. 10th St., police said.

Tellers reported the robbery at 9:10 a.m., telling police that an unshaven, dark-haired man carrying bags and a backpack with shoes dangling from it had presented a note demanding money, then walked out of the bank with cash.

Medford police Officer Tom Sweeney was on patrol in the area and spotted the man walking just across the street from the Central Library and arrested him, Detective Sgt. Mike Budreau said.

Investigators determined that Nguyen waited in the lobby, pouring himself a cup of coffee that is provided free to bank customers, until other clients left, Budreau said. Then he approached a teller and presented a note indicating he was armed and was robbing the bank. She handed him an envelope full of cash, and he left. Police records showed that $1,870 was reportedly taken.

When he was stopped moments later, no gun was found but investigators recovered a demand note and the cash.

Nguyen remains in jail on $250,000 bail.

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