Police: Alleged Bank Robbery Was Fake

Saturday, June 6th 2009, 11:25 am
By: News On 6

By Jeffrey Smith, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- Two men are in custody after what appeared to be an attempted bank robbery turned out to be a plea for drug money.

About 9:30 a.m. Saturday, dozens of cops swarmed the Chase Bank at 601 E. Apache St., prepared to face an armed bank robber.

Police say 49-year-old Walter Hall purchased drugs from 18-year-old Jeremy Woodfork but didn't pay.

Hall hitched a plan. Woodfork would drive him to the bank so he could withdraw cash.

But without Woodfork's knowledge, Hall sneakily scribbled a note, explaining to the teller he was forced to do this at gunpoint.

At the time, there were a half-dozen employees inside the bank. Thinking there was an armed robbery in progress, they calmly started walking away, one at a time.

"They were able to get a location to the back of the bank that was safe," Willingham said. "That, you know, potentially could have saved their lives."

Officers say the employees remained calm, even as a police perimeter was set up. They say staying calm helped keep the suspects inside and non-violent.

"People react differently when they get scared, and this is high emotion, and obviously that's justifiable, but it might cause the suspects to do something they didn't intend to do," Willingham said.

Cops say that training and professionalism made their job easier.

One of the men gave himself up after a 20-minute standoff inside the bank.

Hall was arrested on a complaint of filing a false police report, along with six outstanding warrants. Woodfork was arrested on a complaint of drug possession.