Police dispatcher helps ID man accused of robbing 2 Anchorage banks, FBI says

a bank robber
A composite of surveillance images showing the suspect in two Anchorage bank robberies at Global Credit Union (left) and Wells Fargo (right) branches on Sept. 19 and Sept. 20, 2023. (From FBI)

The FBI has arrested a man accused of robbing two Anchorage banks last week after the agency says several people helped identify him, including an Anchorage police dispatcher who recognized him from surveillance footage.

Tyler Harold Ching, 34, faces federal charges of credit union robbery and bank robbery in Tuesday and Wednesday’s holdups, said a criminal complaint filed Friday.

a robber
A surveillance photo showing the Global Credit Union robbery suspect’s “Music Hat,” with a built-in speaker and playback controls. (From FBI)

According to the complaint, the first robbery happened around 2:15 p.m. Tuesday at a Global Credit Union branch off the Old Seward Highway near Huffman Road. Surveillance footage showed an armed man wearing black sunglasses, a cloth face mask, a single gray glove on his left hand and a “Music Hat” beanie — a distinctive hat with a built-in speaker.

“The male suspect pointed what appeared to be a handgun at the customers and GCU teller,” said the complaint written by FBI Special Agent Robert Douglas. “Witness accounts stated that the suspect pointed the handgun at the GCU teller’s face, opened (a) bag, and placed the bag on the teller counter.”

The teller put about $2,300 into the bag, which the man took and ran northeast from the branch with, said the complaint.

The next day, it said, a man robbed a Wells Fargo bank on Jewel Lake Road near Raspberry Road at about 1:30 p.m. Wednesday. The man seen in surveillance video matched the same description as the one seen Tuesday. Witnesses said he used the same tactics to take about $2,800, then ran from the bank.

The FBI released photos of the man seen Tuesday and asked the public to help identify him. The request quickly yielded tips, including someone who reported recognizing him from Tinder. An APD dispatcher who shared a mutual acquaintance with Ching identified him by name, according to the complaint.

FBI agents said they spoke with several of Ching’s relatives, who recognized clothes he owned in the surveillance footage – including the glove, which Ching still had after losing its mate. They also told investigators he owned an airsoft gun modeled on a Glock 19 pistol and had worked at a coffee shop near the Wells Fargo branch.

The FBI and Alaska State Troopers arrested Ching Friday night in Cooper Landing, the bureau said Monday. He was being held Monday at the Anchorage Correctional Complex.

Ching is the second man in less than a month to be charged in multiple Anchorage bank robberies. Police announced the Aug. 29 arrest of 20-year-old Etuale Ioane in two robberies of the same Credit Union 1 branch in East Anchorage, based on a tip from his mother.

Casey Grove contributed information to this story.

Chris Klint is a web producer and breaking news reporter at Alaska Public Media. Reach him at cklint@alaskapublic.org. Read more about Chris here.

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