BEND, Ore. - A homeless man was arrested Monday night after Bend police say he robbed the Ericksons Thriftway in northeast Bend. Employees said Tuesday they couldn't talk to us on camera, but did tell us it was a crazy night.
A man in the checkout line at the northeast Bend grocery store Monday night pulled out a large kitchen knife and demanded cash from the till, then ran, but was found by a police dog just five minutes later, hiding in nearby bushes, police said. He refused to comply with officers' commands and was bitten, then arrested and taken to the hospital, they added.
Bend police, joined by Redmond police and Deschutes County sheriff's deputies, responded to the reported robbery around 9:30 p.m. at the store at 725 NE Greenwood Avenue, said Sgt. Ron Taylor.
A 21-year-old woman working as a checkout clerk said a white man, about 40 years old, with a full beard and wearing a blue sweatshirt, had entered the store and came through her checkstand, acting as if he was going to buy several items, Taylor said.
While she was ringing up his items, the man pulled out a large kitchen-type knife and told her to give him the money from her till, Taylor said. She complied, and he ran from the store with the cash, the sergeant said. He noted there were two other customers and one other employee in the store at the time, and none were in the area of the cash registers.
Taylor said officers arrived at the store within 30 seconds of receiving the call and quickly established a search perimeter.
K-9s from Bend, Redmond and the county responded to help in the search, he said.
About five minutes after the call, Bend police Officer James Kinsella and his K-9 partner, Haras, found a man matching the suspect's description hiding in a heavy thicket at Juniper Park, less than a mile from the store, Taylor said.
"The officers shined a light," Bend police Lt. Brian Kindel said. "You could see a suspect in the bushes, hiding with a concealed -- not listening to commands the officers were giving him."
The suspect, later identified as 41-year-old transient Michael Monroe, refused to comply with the officer's orders and was apprehended by the police dog.
"The K-9 handler is really, really good," Kindel said. "He can read the dog where it's going, and he knew they were on a strong scent as they are going down this trail. As I read this report and found out, the dog basically alerted immediately to the right and he (knew) there was somebody in that bush."
Taylor said cash believed to have been taken in the robbery was found where Monroe was hiding.
Police say the employee did the right thing.
"The best thing is to tell people to be a professional witness, get as much information as you can," Kindel said. "A physical characteristic, clothing, what did they say, speech impediment -- whatever it may be, it helps us in the long run."
Monroe was taken to St. Charles-Bend and admitted for treatment of his injuries. Once discharged Tuesday afternoon, he was taken to the county jail and booked on charges of first-degree robbery menacing, unlawful use of a weapon and a parole violation warrant, the latter meaning he's held without bail.
It was the latest in a recent string of Bend-area cases where the bite of a police dog stopped a fleeing suspect.