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Armed Man Robs Bank of the West on State Street

Noozhawk advertising manager was the only customer inside the branch when the suspect demanded cash from tellers

An armed man robbed the Bank of the West branch at 1036 State St. on Tuesday morning and got away with an undisclosed amount of cash, according to Santa Barbara police.

Sgt. Lorenzo Duarte said the suspect entered the bank at 9:45 a.m. with a black handgun drawn and made his way straight to the tellers. The man, described as 6 feet tall and more than 200 pounds, demanded cash from the tellers and after receiving it headed east on Figueroa Street. No one was hurt.

The suspect wore a medium-gray sweatshirt, a ski mask, dark-colored shorts, gloves and white tennis shoes and carried a dark messenger bag, Duarte said. The suspect appeared to be a middle-aged white male but had little skin showing.

Police are reviewing security videos and interviewing witnesses. The branch will remain closed for the rest of the day.

Duarte said police officers heavily searched the nearby area, including parking structures and every nook and cranny of the Santa Barbara Central Library, 40 E. Anapamu St.

Chris Donahue, Noozhawk’s advertising manager, was the only customer inside at the time of the 9:45 a.m. robbery. He was cashing a check at the window when he heard someone tell him not to move, then he saw the gun.

“I didn’t say one word,” Donahue said. “This is the real deal.”

The suspect demanded money from the mini vault, used by the tellers.

“He knew exactly where he was going,” Donahue said.

After loading up his bag, the man said “Sorry!” before taking off. In Donahue’s words, “He was a gentleman about it.”

The tellers were shaken up but alerted police after the man left.

A suspect had not been arrested as of 11:20 a.m. Tuesday. Anyone with information is asked to call Crimes Against Persons detectives at 805.897.2335.

Noozhawk staff writer Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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