Redding’s credit union robbery linked to two other bank robberies

A man who was arrested in the January 19 robbery at Sierra Central Credit Union on Bechelli Lane is linked to two other bank robberies in California and Oregon.

The Redding Police Department said Saturday that Thomas James West, 52, was arrested by Las Vegas police on Friday.

West is also suspected of robbing a bank in Central Point, Oregon on Jan. 11 and another in Yuba City on Jan. 20, police said.

Redding detectives say West’s detention was possible due to the cooperation of five other law enforcement agencies in three states.

“The successful identification and arrest of Thomas West was made possible through many days of hard work by DPR detectives and their successful cooperation with Central Point Police, Yuba City Police, Oregon State Police, Shasta County District Attorney’s Office and the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department,” Redding Police said on Facebook.

Officers were unable to locate the Sierra Central Credit Union thief that day despite searching the entire area with the assistance of the California Highway Patrol helicopter.

Redding Detectives Mike Enyart and Jeramiah Kasinger learned of the other two bank robberies and determined that the same man executed them.

For 10 days, Enyart and Kasinger shared tips and leads with their counterparts without success. On Thursday, they identified the getaway car in all three thefts.

On Friday, Central Point investigators said they received information from Oregon State Police that West may be connected to the car. Redding police say they found a photo of West and, using bank security camera footage, identified him as the serial bank robber, despite not being the owner of the car.

“Thomas West has an extensive and violent criminal history in Washington and Oregon,” Redding police said.

The next step for detectives was to determine that the car was in Las Vegas. They obtained an arrest warrant for West charging him with the Redding robbery and contacted the Las Vegas Police Fugitive Arrest Unit.

“The team located and arrested Thomas West with the getaway vehicle within three hours,” police said.

Mike Chapman is an award-winning journalist and photographer for Record Searchlight in Redding, California. His newspaper career spans Yreka and Eureka in Northern California and Bellingham, Washington. Support local journalism by subscribing today.

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