The Idaho Springs Police Department is on the lookout for a man who was convicted of robbing Clear Creek National Bank in 1996.
The FBI recently informed local authorities that it believes Donald E. Wagner, 60, could be planning to return to Idaho Springs to rob the same bank, now called Evergreen National Bank after a 2010 merger. Wagner reportedly still has ties to Colorado.
However, Police Chief Dave Wohlers said Wagner erroneously listed Idaho Springs as his last known home address.
Wagner pleaded guilty to aggravated robbery in March 1997 and was sentenced to 15 years in a halfway house. He was paroled in 2010 but is wanted for violating conditions of his parole last year. A felony warrant has been issued for his arrest.
“I’d be surprised if he’d want to come back here and try it again,” said Wohlers, who arrested Wagner in 1996.
“I don’t really remember him having any burning animosity toward coming back and doing something bad back here, but we don’t assume he’s not, (and) we’re not going to assume he is,” Wohlers said. “We’ll take the information we get and be on the lookout for it. We’ve made the banks aware and … county, state, local law enforcement are aware of it.”
Wagner is described as a 60-year-old white male, 5-foot-10, 195 pounds, with brown/gray hair and blue eyes.
Anyone who has information or sees Wagner is asked to contact the Idaho Springs Police Department at 303-567-4291 or call 911.
1996 bank robbery
According to past issues of the Clear Creek Courant:
On Dec. 30, 1996, Wagner, then a Montrose resident, placed a Taco Bell bag on a Clear Creek National Bank counter and falsely told the teller the bag contained a bomb. Wagner also claimed he had cancer and had only a few weeks left to live, with nothing to lose.
Former Idaho Springs detective Karen Worden said Wagner told the tellers, “Hi, ladies. I am not kidding. I want you to do exactly as I say. This is not a joke. I have a pipe bomb in this sack.”
Wagner demanded all the money that a teller had, an amount that has not been disclosed, and said he would remotely set off the bomb if bank employees contacted police.
Wohlers responded to the 911 call and immediately caught up with Wagner at the former high school parking lot.
“We were at the police department just down the street, and the call came in from dispatch that there was a bank robbery,” Wohlers said Monday. “I attribute the quick apprehension basically from good reporting from one of the tellers.”
Wohlers said that when Wagner saw police were following him, he assumed that he was captured, so he pulled over and put his hands up.
“We’ve had bank robberies before this … (but) we haven’t had one since, knock on wood,” Wohlers said. “Maybe the word got out if you rob a bank in Idaho Springs, you get caught within five minutes.”