A mid-afternoon bank robbery Saturday left customers in shock and police scratching their heads.
A masked man walked into the Wells Fargo bank, 115 E. Highway 260, about 3:20 p.m. with a handgun and demanded cash, said Payson Police Chief Don Engler.
Tellers gave the suspect an undisclosed amount of money and he fled the scene on foot, last seen running into a neighborhood on South Goodnow Road.
One witness said the suspect pointed a gun at him and told him to get back into his vehicle as he entered the bank. The man said he called police when he got in his vehicle.
In less than three minutes, officers had surrounded the bank, but the suspect was gone.
One man waiting in the bank’s drive-through said he knew something was wrong when no one came to the window to take his deposit. After several minutes, the eyewitness said he saw a man dressed in all white sprinting past the bank carrying a bag.
The man said he was about to pull out and follow the suspect in his vehicle, when a teller came to the window and told him to wait. Before completing his transaction, a swarm of police officers had filled the parking lot, the man said, who asked to remain anonymous.
Officers searched the area for hours, knocking on doors and questioning neighbors, but found no clues to the suspect’s whereabouts, Engler said.
News of the armed robbery spread quickly through town.
Police have yet to locate the suspect and are releasing few details on what the man looked like. Witnesses said the man was dressed in all white, with his face concealed.
Shortly after police arrived, they set up a perimeter in the neighborhood south of the bank, focusing on Goodnow Road and East Bonita Street.
A police K-9 training event was being held in town and several K-9s from the Gila County Sheriff’s Office and other departments responded to assist in the search.
Officers with the department’s special response team conducted door-to-door searches of the homes in the neighborhood until 8:30 p.m., Engler said.
Engler contacted the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which is involved in the joint investigation.
No one was injured during the robbery, he said.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Payson Police Department at (928) 474-5242 ext. 220 or the Hot Tips hotline, (928) 468-8477.