An Idaho Falls man was arraigned Tuesday for the robbery of Connections Credit Union that led to several schools going on a soft lockdown.
Travis Lofthouse, 22, was charged with robbery and use of a hoax destructive device in the commission of a felony. He admitted to committing the robbery when questioned by police.
Lofthouse entered the credit union at 9:35 a.m. Monday and told the branch supervisor he had a bomb in his backpack. He handed the supervisor a drawstring bag and told her to fill it with money. The supervisor filled it with $24,000 and returned the bag to Lofthouse.
Lofthouse told the supervisor not to call 911 until 9:45 a.m. He said he had both a remote detonator and a police scanner, and he would know if she called police before then. Lofthouse left, leaving the backpack behind.
The supervisor told police she was “petrified” when Lofthouse threatened her and that her life flashed before her eyes.
The regional bomb squad arrived and examined the backpack with X-rays. They determined the bag did not contain a bomb. Police examined surveillance footage from the credit union and found footprints headed toward Grand Teton Mall.
ISU Credit Union contacted the Idaho Falls Police Department to report a customer resembling the suspect had recently paid a large amount of money toward his bill. The teller reported seeing stacks of $100 bills in the man’s possession.
Police identified the customer as Lofthouse and set up surveillance near his home. Lofthouse returned home at about 4:30 p.m. and was arrested.
Lofthouse immediately asked police if they thought he was involved with the robbery. He told police they could not search his car or house without a warrant. He said the money visible in his car was his life savings.
Police obtained a warrant and found $15,000 in cash in Lofthouse’s car. They also found a blue knit hat resembling the one he wore in surveillance footage at the credit union, a receipt for a backpack and a note referencing getting money from Connections Credit Union. Police also found a footprint near his house that resembled those found outside the credit union.
A detective interviewed Lofthouse at the Law Enforcement Building, where Lofthouse admitted to the robbery. According to the probable cause affidavit, Lofthouse “blamed it on another personality of his.” Lofthouse said he disposed of his clothes from the robbery somewhere between Rexburg and Idaho Falls.
Robbery is punishable with a minimum of five years in prison and up to a life sentence. Use of a hoax destructive device in the commission of a felony is punishable with up to 15 years in prison. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Jan. 22 in Bonneville County Courthouse.