OLYMPIA, Wash. – A woman dressed as a witch robbed a bank, vanished in the smoke of an exploding security dye pack, then apparently reappeared in street clothes and held up another bank, police say.
The Halloween holdups at Washington Mutual branches seven miles apart in Olympia (search) and neighboring Lacey (search) were, "I would say for us ... pretty rare," Olympia police Lt. James Costa said.
"Usually when we get hit on a bank, it's over and done with," Costa said. "It doesn't happen again until several days later or a week later. Usually, we don't have a pattern of them happening back-to-back in a single day."
The first robbery was reported about 4:50 p.m. Monday in Lacey when, witnesses said, a woman wearing a shiny purple witch hat, cloak and long blond wig handed the teller a note indicating she had a weapon and demanding cash, Lacey police Lt. Phil Comstock said.
As the woman ran east from the bank and across the street, the dye pack exploded and she dropped the money and her hat, which police recovered, authorities said.
At 5:22 p.m. Olympia police received a silent alarm from a Washington Mutual (search) branch where witnesses said a woman in a blue hooded sweatshirt with black pants handed the teller a note and escaped with an undisclosed amount of money, Costa said.
"If they are associated, the one out in Lacey is essentially a failed attempt. Ours wasn't," he said.
Olympia police have been trying for a few weeks to catch a woman, described as in her 20s with a dark complexion and a distinctly shaped nose, who robbed struck two westside banks in nine days. In both cases, she handed a teller a note and made off with an undisclosed amount of cash.
The one Monday was similarly said to be in her 20s and about medium height.
Investigators were comparing images from surveillance cameras, but from witness descriptions "it looks like the same lady," Detective Samuel Costello said.