Bystander leads officers to robbery suspect |

Bystander leads officers to robbery suspect

Wheeler Cowperthwaite
Jim Grant/The R-CCarson City Sheriff's Department deputies detain Thomas Baye in connection with a bank robbery on Washington Street late Monday afternoon.

A Carson City man who allegedly robbed the U.S. Bank on Market Street was in custody Monday night after police surrounded his residence earlier in the day.

The man was linked to the robbery in the North Carson City Walmart shopping complex around 3:30 p.m. Monday by a license plate description provided by a woman who saw him coming out of the bank.

Sandra Delarge was sitting her car, minding her own business, when she saw a man, identified as Thomas Baye, 46.

“He kept peeking around the corner,” she said. “It was weird enough that I wrote down what he was wearing. I saw him take off into the bank.”

When he came back out, he was covering one side of his face. Delarge knew something was wrong.

After the man began running, he bent over to pick up what Delarge would later realize was money.

She thought to herself, “Oh my god, he robbed the bank.”

Practicality took over.

“All I knew was, maybe I could get his license plate number,” she said in an interview with the Nevada Appeal Monday night.

Delarge pulled behind him as he exited in front of Walmart, stopped by pedestrians and their groceries, giving her enough time to write down his license plate and, as the adage goes, check it twice.

“I took off back to the bank and banged on the window,” she said. The bank, locked after the alleged robbery, would not open but deputies were on site within a few more seconds. She was able to give the plate number and description to sheriff’s deputies which allowed them to locate Baye’s residence and uncover his past conviction for armed bank robbery.

“I was trying to be as helpful as I could,” she said.

Officers were led to the house on the 1000 block of Washington Street because it was listed as the residence for Baye. Baye, required to register as an ex-felon, also used the address to register his status.

“Without the license plate, we would not be here,” Furlong said, motioning to the house behind him.

Officers had the house surrounded by 4 p.m., Sheriff Ken Furlong said. The man came out of his house without police prompting and surrendered at 4:26 p.m.

“He just came out,” Furlong said.

The suspect followed police commands to walk into the middle of the street, followed by a command to get on his knees.

A truck matching the description of the suspected getaway vehicle was parked inside the garage at the residence, its license plate obscured.

The SWAT team secured the home and by 5:50 p.m., it was cleared and ready to have search warrants served on it.

“During a later search of the residence by FBI Agents and Sheriff’s Detectives, items were located that directly associated Thomas Baye with the bank robbery,” according to a press release from the sheriff’s office.

Baye will be transported to the Washoe County Jail today pending federal bank robbery charges, according to the FBI.

“Less than 10 minutes after she provided the license plate number, the suspect’s residence was surrounded and the threat to the community contained,” according to Furlong. “Our greatest gratitude goes out to Ms. Delarge for her contributions to the community.”

The investigation is ongoing. Any witnesses are encouraged to call Sheriff’s Office at 887-2500.