Bank Manager, Customers Thwart Would-Be Robber

Thursday, February 19th 2009, 6:46 pm
By: News On 6

By Emory Bryan, The News On 6

BROKEN ARROW, OK -- Broken Arrow Police are investigating a foiled robbery attempt at the RCB Bank at 71st and Garnett.

A man with a gun went into the bank just after 5 p.m. on Thursday and stopped in the foyer to put on a ski mask.  That was when he was spotted and tackled before he ever got inside.

Police cars surrounded the Union branch of RCB Bank after the report of an attempted robbery.  The first officers on the scene found the suspect, identified as 56-year-old John Duran, pinned down by bank employees and customers.

The bank manager told police he saw Duran as he walked through the outer doors of the bank foyer.

"He appeared to be putting a ski mask or some sort of hood over his face.  The bank manager got up and tried to lock the doors to keep this guy out, a struggle started and then a few bank employees and a few customers were able to wrestle the guy to the ground and keep him pinned down until officers arrived," said Broken Arrow Police Captain Greg Sipes.

Police say Duran had a .38 caliber revolver, but he lost it in the struggle.  No shots were fired.  Paramedics checked over the people who fought with the robber, but found only bumps and bruises.  

Captain Sipes says besides the manager, some tellers and customers all piled on the robber.

"Definitely, not something we encourage people to do.  You never know if someone is in possession of a firearm, this time he was.  We're extremely pleased this one worked out and no one was hurt, but it's not something we recommend people do," said Broken Arrow Police Captain Greg Sipes.

Broken Arrow detectives questioned the suspect and called in the FBI.

Broken Arrow Police say Duran has an extensive arrest history, including several counts of robbery both in Oklahoma and California.  In 1995 he received a 30 year sentence for a robbery conviction out of Tulsa.  It appears he was released in 2007, serving 12 years of his 30 year sentence.

Duran, of Broken Arrow, now faces charges of attempted robbery with a dangerous weapon, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, and possession of a firearm.  All of the charges are with former convictions of felonies.