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Archive for Friday, December 1, 2000

Thursday’s attempted robbery, from start to finish

December 1, 2000

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Here's a look at the events that transpired in conjunction with Thursday's attempted robbery of the Firstar Bank.

12:30 p.m.: Lawrence Police receive an alarm of a robbery in progress at Firstar Bank, Ninth and Massachusetts streets.

Armed Lawrence police officers approach Firstar Bank responding to
a hostage/robbery standoff. Prior to making their move, police
cordoned off much of a two-block downtown area during the lunch
hour Wednesday.

Armed Lawrence police officers approach Firstar Bank responding to a hostage/robbery standoff. Prior to making their move, police cordoned off much of a two-block downtown area during the lunch hour Wednesday.

12:38 p.m.: Police, weapons drawn, position themselves behind cars, across the street, and along walls of businesses adjoining Firstar Bank.

12:42 p.m.: An officer crouched behind a small, jutting display window at Vormehr and Youngquist Gallery, 914 Mass., frisks a young black bank employee who emerges from the front door. Another officer armed with a shotgun runs from across the street, escorting the young man into Weaver's Department Store. The police officer leaves his shotgun with the officer in front of the gallery.

12:45 p.m.: Police begin shouting at pedestrians to clear the 900 block of Massachusetts. Some passersby choose to stay put inside businesses, others retreat to the fringe of the police perimeter near 10th or Eighth streets so they can continue to watch the episode unfold.

12:52 p.m.: "We're scared to death," says Cynthia Ochs, an employee with Allen, Cooley & Allen law firm. The firm's office is on the second floor of the Firstar tower. Police "called and told us to lock the elevator," Ochs says during a contemporaneous telephone interview. She was one of three firm employees trapped in the office until the situation was resolved.

1 p.m.: A blond sharpshooter with the Lawrence Police Department follows a Journal-World reporter to the top of Weaver's Department Store, immediately across the street from the bank. He heads for a rooftop corner overlooking the bank entrance.

1:05 p.m.: When the sharpshooter learns he is with a newsman, he orders the reporter from the roof. When the reporter balks, the officer threatens to arrest him and have him removed.

"You want me to handcuff you?" the obviously tense policeman rhetorically asks the reporter.

"I've got my hands full. You need to leave," the policeman says.

1:10 p.m.: Police began shooing people from inside Weaver's. LPD Sgt. Mike Pattrick, an official agency spokesman, says the building will be used "as a command post."

Moments before that a man looked at coats racked in the store's men's department, apparently unimpressed by the commotion that had police clearing a full block of the city's main street. Weaver employees group together away from the store's front windows.

1:20 p.m.: Several armed officers enter the building's front entrance, crouching.

1:21 p.m.: Police announce a "10-15," code that a suspect has been taken into custody.

1:23 p.m.: Several more police enter the building, briskly walking. They were accompanied by a small woman carrying what appeared to be a physician's bag.

2:42 p.m.: Police confirm the man arrested had been armed with a BB gun.

3:45 p.m.: Police continue to refuse to identify the suspect, saying the FBI which has taken over the investigation will not release his name until he has been charged in court.

5:10 p.m.: Paul Lee is booked into the Douglas County Jail on suspicion of armed robbery, criminal threat and kidnapping.

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