By Luke Stoker
Dwight Clayton Belton walked into the Woodland Wells Fargo bank this past April and passed a note to the teller demanding money. The teller complied, but Belton left his wallet in the teller window which police later used to identify him.
Belton entered the bank wearing a bright yellow construction jacket, large sunglasses and a black beanie. He kept his head down the whole time until he approached the bank teller’s desk, so camera footage was spotty.
He approached the teller’s desk and made small talk with her. The teller was caught off guard when Belton slipped her a note demanding cash.
The note read, “This is a robbery,” and requested bills of different denominations in specific quantities. The note also warned the teller not to push the silent alarm button.
As the teller collected the bills from the cash register, Belton whispered instructions to her. He repeatedly told her to not to push the alarm and to remain calm.
The teller collected ten $100 bills, the first of the instructed bill amounts. She placed them on top of the cash tray in a calm fashion.
The teller attempted to collect the rest of the requested bill denominations. The defendant, visibly in a hurry, told the teller not to bother. He took the ten $100 bills and left.
Belton left, leaving his wallet behind at the teller window. The teller almost yelled at him to retrieve his wallet, but then thought better of it.
After Belton left, the teller told her manager what had happened. The bank manager pushed the alarm and the police arrive five minutes later.
The police used the I.D. found in Belton’s wallet to track him down. Later that day, the police recognized the license plate number of the defendant on a car parked outside a restaurant in Woodland.
Belton attempted to escape. He started to drive away but accelerated too quickly and ran into a tree.
The police found inside the car the yellow construction jacket and the black beanie worn during the alleged robbery. The note was not found.
The police arrested Belton and he is now being tried for robbery. Belton’s defense attorney argued that what he did was illegal but was not a robbery.
The defense points out that Belton had no weapons and did not threaten the clerk. He made no mention of weapons and did not maintain an aggressive demeanor. The defense argued this is grounds to classify the incident as a less serious crime.
The trial will resume for the next several days, then a verdict on Belton’s alleged bank robbery will be anticipated.