News for those who live, work and play in the Santiam Canyon

Two arrested in Riverview Community Bank robbery

Contributing writer for The Canyon Weekly

By Mary Owen

Local police departments assisted in apprehending two Albany residents accused of robbing an Aumsville bank. 

Dustin Michael Halvorsen, 37, and Noelle Monique Lerma, 23, face a federal charge for their alleged role in the Feb. 8 robbery of Riverview Community Bank, according a recent FBI press release. 

According to the criminal complaint filed in this case, bank employees observed the male robber approach a teller station and hand over a note, which threatened “you will be the first one shot” if the teller did not comply. The robber kept his right hand inside his coat pocket, causing the teller to believe he was holding a gun.

The robber received cash, left the bank on foot, and traveled a short distance before a witness saw the him get into the passenger side of a black sedan.

Fewer than 10 minutes after the robbery began, Marion County Sheriff’s Office deputies spotted the sedan. Once they ran the license, they realized the plates belonged to a different vehicle, and they stopped the sedan. Marion County deputies and Stayton Police Officers, working with Aumsville Police, took Halvorsen and Lerma into custody.

“Our department assisted with the transport and temporary holding of the suspects,” said Chief Dave Frisendahl of the Stayton Police Department. “We also assisted the FBI investigation by providing support.”

Frisendahl said the suspects are in federal custody and should be prosecuted through federal court.

“We are proud of the great teamwork between our deputies and partner agencies to quickly locate the suspects from the bank robbery,” said Sgt. Jeremy Landers, public information officer with the Community Resource Unit, Marion County Sheriff’s Office.

Halvorsen and Lerma made their initial appearances before a federal magistrate judge on Feb. 10, and the judge ordered them held pending further court proceedings. The United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Oregon is prosecuting this case.

According to the FBI release, investigators believe Halvorsen and Lerma may be connected to other recent criminal activity in Newport and Eugene. 

Anyone with information about potential other criminal activity is asked to contact the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI or online at tips.fbi.gov.

A criminal complaint is only an accusation of a crime, and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

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