Knife-brandishing bandit hits Denny’s Restaurant in Gateway

It looks as if this robber had it all planned out: Hit the freeway and make a clean getaway. You’ll be amazed to see how quickly an alert outer East Portland cop foiled his escape …

Because the restaurant is open all night long, it looks as if the man accused of robbing the Denny’s in Gateway thought he could just hop in his Caddy and cruise back to the ‘Couve.

Story and photo by David F. Ashton
One of the few places to get a hot meal in the middle of the night in outer East Portland is the Denny’s Restaurant on SE 104th Avenue between SE Stark and SE Washington Streets, in the Gateway District. We’ve had great late-night meals here when working into the wee hours of the morning.

However, a little after 2:30 a.m. on June 16, a heavy-set, medium-height man – dressed for summer in boxer shorts and a tank top – strolled into the all-night diner with more than a meal on his mind.

After making a brief ruckus, it became clear that he was more interested in filling his wallet with other people’s cash than his belly with food. Reportedly, he pulled a knife and robbed the restaurant. According to some accounts, he also robbed patrons – or at least threatened them.

Makes a not-so-clean getaway
The late-night bandito hopped into his older green Cadillac with Washington plates and headed for the freeway. But he didn’t get far.

“About five minutes after the robbery call was dispatched, an officer spotted the vehicle,” said Portland Police Bureau East Precinct Commander Michael Crebs. “One of our veteran officers, Larry Keller, heard the description of the suspect’s car, and spotted it on I-205, heading northbound from NE Glisan Street.”

As Keller signaled for the Caddy to pull over and stop, Crebs told us, he initiated the “high risk stop” protocol – calling in additional officers for cover. “Instead of walking up to the vehicle, officers stay back and draw their weapons. Then, use their car’s PA system to give clear instructions to the driver and occupants – in this case, to get out of the car and walk slowly over to them.”

Instead of giving up, though, the suspect – later identified as 40-year-old Ronald King Hamilton — didn’t follow those orders. “Hamilton was non-compliant, and he was ‘tased’ in the course of his arrest,” Crebs said.

Officials allege that this man – 40-year-old Ronald King Hamilton – robbed the Gateway-area Denny’s Restaurant.

“Two factors helped us make a quick arrest,” Crebs noted. “Officer Keller’s alert response, and the clear description of the subject, staff at the restaurant quickly called in to the 9-1-1 Center.”

Records show that Hamilton was charged with one count of Robbery in the First Degree – a class A Felony – and was taken to the Multnomah County Jail.

© 2009 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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