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Suspicious man at Freeland Wells Fargo apprehended by deputies | UPDATE

By BEN WATANABE
South Whidbey Record Sports, Langley, South Whidbey Fire/EMS
May 3, 2013 · Updated 3:33 PM
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Island County Sheriff's deputy Frank Gomez handcuffs a man outside the Freeland Wells Fargo. / Sue Ellen White photo

A man was handcuffed and taken away by Island County Sheriff’s deputies Friday morning at the Wells Fargo in Freeland.

Sheriff Mark Brown said later in the day that the man was not even formally arrested, but the scene caused a stir in the small town as it played out in public.

The incident happened shortly after 10 a.m. May 3 at the branch on South Harbor Avenue, just off Highway 525. A local businesswoman was at the bank using its outdoor ATM around 9 a.m. when she saw the suspicious person waiting for the bank to open.

“He was just standing there being weird, waiting for the bank to open,” said Rebecca Myers, who works across the street at Northwest Public Relations. “I was trying not to be paranoid.”

Myers said the man was pacing, acting “jittery,” and “didn’t seem to have a reason to be there.”

“When you’re getting money out of an ATM, you take care to notice the people around you,” she said.

“It was an interesting morning.”

Shortly after she returned to her office, she saw at least two deputies arrive at the bank. The man was handcuffed and driven away by one of the deputies, who eyewitness Sue Ellen White identified as Deputy Frank Gomez.

Employees at the branch declined to comment, citing a Wells Fargo policy to have a spokesperson speak with media about possible criminal activities.

Brown said the man, who may have mental issues, was at the bank to visit his safe deposit box when he started acting suspiciously, prompting a bank official to call in a trespassing complaint.

The bank’s employees were evacuated in the morning and were allowed to reenter the bank by 10:30 a.m. By noon, bank activity resumed as normal.

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