Bank robber’s bizarre spree leaves ‘bomb’ in outer East Portland

Holding up the Gateway Key Bank with a gun – and a bomb – isn’t the only crime the suspect is accused of committing during the course of the day. Find out where his odyssey began – and ended …

An armed stick-up at this Gateway Key Bank branch was his second crime of the day, officials say, for this parolee on the lam.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
From reportedly boozing it up near a dormitory at Portland State University – and then pulling a gun on a campus security officer – to robbing a bank in Gateway – to carjacking – to walking around dazed in a North Portland Fred Meyer Store….54-year-old David William Chilton monopolized the resources of all three Portland Police Bureau (PPB) precincts on June 11.

After reportedly being caught drinking with a buddy on the PSU campus in the morning, Chilton was suspected of holing up in a parking structure with a gun, bringing out the Bureau’s SERT squad.

“Chilton is suspected of brandishing a firearm at a uniformed Portland State University Public Safety Officer in Downtown Portland fleeing the area,” reported PPB Public Information Officer Lt. Robert King.

Police distributed this photo of the wanted suspect – 54-year-old David William Chilton – hoping to stop him before he committed another crime. It didn’t work. PPB photo

After he slipped past officers, Chilton is believed to have hopped aboard a MAX Light Rail train and headed east to the Gateway area.

PPB East Precinct officers swarmed that area later in the day, responding to a bank robbery call.

In Gateway, officers talk with detectives, comparing information gathered from witnesses at the afternoon bank robbery.

In the parking lot of the Gateway Fred Meyer Shopping Center at NE 102nd Avenue and Halsey Street, King told East Portland News, “At 3:47 p.m., this Key Bank branch was robbed at gunpoint. The suspect, believed to be David Chilton, left a ‘device’ behind in the bank.”

In the parking lot, bank customer Regina Lusted said, “The man yelled that the bomb would go off he was caught outside the bank. The way he said it made me feel he wasn’t kidding.”

Police sent out this image – of a similar vehicle to the one carjacked during the robbery.

After grabbing the loot, King said Chilton demanded the keys to customer’s car. “The bank manager offered the keys to his car, but the suspect demanded the keys to the woman’s vehicle.”

Before driving off in the 1997 Toyota 4Runner, Chilton reportedly shouted at the woman’s two pre-teen children, telling them to “get the hell out of the car”. They promptly complied, and were safely reunited with their mother.

A bomb squad expert returns from the checking the device the robber left behind in the bank. It wasn’t a bomb.

Before long, the Metropolitan Explosive Disposal Unit was on-scene. All watched, as team members first sent in their remote-control robot to check the device. Then, an explosives expert, dressed in a “bomb suit”, entered the bank.

“They believe it is a hoax device,” King reported. That’s indeed what it was. But that was not the last the police heard of Mr. Chilton that day.

At 8:47 p.m., PPB North Precinct officers responded to the report of an armed man inside the Fred Meyer store at North Interstate Avenue and Lombard Street.

“Officers responded to the store, and made contact with Loss Prevention Officers at Fred Meyer, who led the police to the security office – where they were able to utilize the store’s surveillance system to get a close look at the armed suspect,” King said.

With the “all clear” given by the bomb squad, officers and detectives enter the Gateway bank to search for evidence.

At approximately 10:15 p.m., the suspect was taken into custody by SERT officers and police K-9 unit “Roscoe” inside the store, King later announced. “Officers confirmed that the suspect is David William Chilton.”

According to public records, Chilton was wanted by the U. S. Marshal Service’s Fugitive Task Force for ditching probation terms related to, according to public records, a similar 2007 Portland area bank robbery of which he was convicted in 2008.

This is how 54-year-old David William Chilton looks today, in his latest booking photo. MCDC image

Chilton remains in custody, on a U.S. Marshall Hold at the Multnomah County Detention Facility, after being treated for a bite from K-9 “Roscoe”.

© 2012 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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