Woman who reported "waddling bandit" gets $10,000

Woman who reported

Credit: FBI photo

The suspect.


by By Associated Press


Posted on August 15, 2009 at 4:33 PM

Updated Wednesday, Oct 14 at 11:54 AM

EUGENE, Ore. (AP) -- For months, the FBI pursued a serial bank robber in the Northwest as "the waddling bandit," for his distinctive gait -- even arresting the wrong man and having to release him when his alibi checked out.

But it turns out that it wasn't the walk that betrayed the real "waddling bandit."

Instead, says the woman who turned him in, it was the way he parked his van.

Shirley Ann Van Houten says she saw a man park on a side street and go to the Liberty Bank office in Springfield in April, but there were plenty of spots available on the main street nearer the bank.

When she saw the man return from the bank with a bag, she jotted down the license plate number and called 911.

Law enforcement officials arrested 63-year-old Dante Peter Dapolonia, who has since pleaded guilty to 10 counts of bank robbery.

As for Van Houten, she's gotten a $10,000 reward for her report. It was from a task force comprised of Oregon banks, credit unions and law enforcement agencies.