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Robbers Go on Campaign of Their Own

August 05, 2004|Amelia Neufeld | Times Staff Writer

Most of downtown Davenport, Iowa, was shut down Wednesday as people attended competing rallies for President Bush and his Democratic challenger, John F. Kerry. "It's a good day to rob a bank," joked one policeman as he herded pedestrians outside the park where Bush spoke.

Three people took his advice.

While authorities were busy securing the candidates' locations, three downtown banks were robbed within an hour.

"Bad guys read the paper too," said Davenport Police Lt. Don Gano. "They knew our resources would be stretched. It's been well publicized about how difficult it would be for us with both candidates in the same small town."

Davenport, population 98,359, did get help from neighboring police agencies, Mayor Charlie Brooke said. Nonetheless, Ralston Credit Union was robbed at 10:45 a.m., just as Bush was getting off his plane and Kerry was starting his first speech, Gano said.

Police caught the first suspect after a chase. His name was not released. Authorities did not think he was connected to the other robberies.

The First National Bank was robbed at 11:23 a.m. Less than 30 minutes later, Southeast National Bank was held up. The suspects in both robberies got away, Gano said.

No shots were fired and no one was injured. Police would not disclose the amounts of money taken.

Times staff writer Peter Wallsten in Davenport contributed to this report.

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