Accused getaway driver in bank robbery pleads not guilty

A 26-year-old man from Grapeview is accused of serving as the getaway driver when another man robbed the Anchor Savings Bank in Elma Nov. 20.

Jeremy L. York pleaded not guilty Monday in Grays Harbor Superior Court to a first-degree robbery charge. Prosecutors say he drove the car when Jerry Upson, 32, allegedly robbed the bank. A teller told police Upson approached her window and demanded she “give him all the hundred dollar bills,” court documents stated, which totaled $1,100. From the way he was standing, the teller said she believed he might have a gun.

Upson was arrested Nov. 29 and is held in Grays Harbor County Jail with $250,000 bail awaiting his preliminary appearance for his own first-degree robbery charge.

Investigators contacted authorities at the Mason County Jail in the course of following up on leads, and a correctional officer was able to identify Upson from a surveillance image from the bank. Upson has prior robbery convictions in Thurston and Mason counties.

After identifying Upson, authorities identified York as a known associate and arrested him on a separate warrant for an escape charge.

According to court documents, York told police Upson initially wanted him to enter another bank through the back door and ask for all the hundreds, but the door was locked.

“They drove around town and eventually stopped near Anchor Bank. Upson designated a place for the defendant to park, a block down from the bank. According to the defendant Upson then got out and then walked into the bank, running out a few minutes later,” court documents said.

Upson told police they fled eastbound on State Route 12, stopping in Oakville to gamble at a casino in order to break the hundred dollar bills into smaller denominations.

York is held in the county jail with $100,000 bail.