Gunmen rob patrons at Montavilla tavern

Read the first-person account of a robbery that police say may be linked to others in the area …

Several East Precinct police officers arrive at the Top of the Hill Tavern, after a report of several patrons being robbed by gunmen.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
In many ways, the early evening of October 13 was like many others for patrons at the Top of the Hill Tavern, located in the Montavilla neighborhood of outer East Portland.

Bill Nagle said he’d just gone into the tavern and settled down to enjoy a beer.

An officer interviews a victim, robbed of cash and a cell phone.

“I felt two taps on the back of my head with something hard,” Nagle told East Portland News. “It turned out to be a gun. It was a couple of black guys who told me to give them my money.”

The armed robbers got away with all of $35 from Nagle.

“At 6:47 p.m., Portland Police Bureau (PPB) East Precinct officers responded to the tavern, located at 9252 NE Glisan Street, on the report of an armed robbery,” reported PPB Public Information Officer Pete Simpson the next day.

More witnesses and victims are interviewed by officers, outside the tavern’s front door.

“Officers were told that two suspects entered the bar, armed with handguns, and demanded money from several customers,” Simpson said. “After obtaining an undisclosed amount of money and personal property from customers, the suspects left the bar and were not seen again.”

Several officers, including a Police K-9 Unit, searched the neighborhood, but did not locate anyone matching the suspects’ description.

“The suspects are described as African American males in their 20s; one suspect was 5’6″ tall, and the other 5’8″ tall. Both were described as wearing sports-team-type jerseys,” Simpson added.

Later that evening, gunmen also robbed USA Gas at 4445 NE Cully Boulevard. And on October 12, Simpson said police investigated an armed robbery at a Subway Sandwich shop at 16409 SE Division Street.

“That suspect is described as an African American male, 17-18 years old, 5’7″ tall, medium build, wearing some kind of mask and a hoody,” Simpson said.

It’s not known if the gunmen who robbed patrons at the Top of the Hill Tavern have also committed other crimes in the area.

At this time, PPB Robbery Detectives have not said if the Top of the Hill Tavern robbery is connected with any of the others.

If you have information about these robberies, or about the identities of the suspects, contact Detective John Russell at (503) 823-0464 or

© 2014 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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