Suspected bank robber caught in Astoria
Authorities apprehended a man in Astoria Tuesday who is considered a person of interest in the robberies of five area banks since late December, including First Federal in Newberg last week, according to a press release from the U.S. Marshals Service.
The U.S. Marshals Oregon Fugitive Task Force arrested 53-year-old Billy Dean Hays on a parole violation warrant issued by the Oregon State Parole Board last month for a previous assault conviction, the release states.
Hays is suspected in the robberies of three Chase Bank branches – in Lake Oswego, McMinnville and Salem – between late December and mid-January. The robber then hit OnPoint Community Credit Union in McMinnville on Jan. 24 and most recently First Federal, 121 N. Edwards St., in Newberg on Feb. 3, according to a FBI release.
On Monday the FBI offered a reward of up to $3,000 to anyone who could provide information leading to the identification, arrest and conviction of the suspect, noting in the description of the suspect that he once wore a stocking cap emblazoned with "FBI" during one of the robberies.
The release states that the suspect would typically walk into a bank branch, approach a teller, demand cash and leave on foot with the money, the release states.
As the suspect of the robberies was considered armed and dangerous, the U.S. Marshals Service assisted local authorities in the search that extended from Portland to the coast and other areas in the Northwest.
Hays was reportedly spotted leaving a motel in Astoria at about 10:45 a.m. Tuesday, and was arrested soon after without incident. The release notes that he has previous convictions of felon in possession of a weapon, possession of a concealed firearm and drug manufacture and possession.
A spokeswoman from the FBI confirmed that the U.S. Marshals Service announced the arrest in connection to a parole violation, but could not confirm any connection to the bank robberies as the man had not been charged with anything related to the robberies.