The Queen Anne branch of Wells Fargo bank was robbed Jan. 29, putting other bankers in the area on edge. Photo by Sarah Radmer 

The Queen Anne branch of Wells Fargo bank was robbed Jan. 29, putting other bankers in the area on edge. Photo by Sarah Radmer 

The Queen Anne Wells Fargo Bank (1600 Queen Anne Ave. N.) was robbed on Jan. 29 around 10:30 a.m. 

Witness Cristine Harris told KIRO-7, a man in a trench coat handed the teller a “crumpled up piece of paper.” The teller then “grabbed this huge stack of cash and handed it over to him.” 

Queen Anne, Coe and John Hay elementary schools “took shelter” during the robbery, KING-5 reported. 

Seattle Police Department had the suspect in custody later that day, according to the Queen Anne View blog. 

This is the not the bank’s first robbery. On Oct. 25, 2013, a man wearing a Halloween mask robbed the bank around noon; he was arrested shortly after. The bank was also robbed in May 2010, according to the Queen Anne View. 

Employees and media representatives from Wells Fargo declined to comment. 

Wells Fargo is far from being the only bank on Queen Anne Avenue. When something like this happens, it puts the other banks nearby on high alert, said Hossein Soleymani, manager at HomeStreet Bank (1835 Queen Anne Ave. N.). For Soleymani, it was heartbreaking to hear, but he was glad everyone was OK. 

“They’re our competition,” he said, “but we’re neighbors first.” 

Safety first

Robberies are “one of those things you don’t want to happen, but you prepare,” he said. HomeStreet prepares monthly for such a situation. 

Knowing the customers also increases safety, Soleymani said: The staff knows nearly all of the customers by name, so they can be cautious when they see someone new coming in. 

“You can never eliminate the risk, but you can reduce it,” he said. 

Emily Guadamuz, manager of Umpqua Bank (1630 Queen Anne Ave. N.) agreed that these types of situations make bank employees extra aware. Umpqua also does monthly training. 

Queen Anne seems like a strange location for a robber to hit, Guadamuz said, because “it seems like an extremely difficult place to get quickly in and out of unless it’s on foot.” 

Queen Anne’s small community and lack of access don’t provide protection, though; this can happen anywhere, she said. 

Queen Anne Avenue may not seem like the ideal location for a robbery, but there is no such thing as a safe neighborhood in Seattle, Soleymani said. 

“It doesn’t matter what neighborhood, including Queen Anne,” he said, noting he’s worked in many different neighborhoods where things like this have happened. 

The No. 1 goal for any bank is safety of the customers and employees, Soleymani said. 

“I’m glad our neighbors — Wells Fargo and their customers — are all OK,” he said. “That’s the best thing.” 

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