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Bank robbery witness unable to identify accused

The only witness to get a good look at the man who robbed a Red Deer bank was unable to identify him in court on Thursday.

Dustin Aaron Clark, 36, is being tried by Court of Queen’s Bench judge and jury on charges arising from a violent robbery and subsequent foot chase on Sept. 23, 2012.

He is accused of entering the TD Canada Trust branch in Village Mall, discharging a can of pepper spray and then bolting out the door, spraying another man who was outside the building as well as a man who took after him before he jumped a fence and ran toward nearby homes.

Homeowner Robin Anderson testified in court on Thursday that he was in his back yard when a man approached him, saying people were chasing him and he needed a place to hide.

“I thought I was being a Good Samaritan,” Anderson said, explaining that he tried to put the man in a shed, but didn’t have the keys. They went into the house together and proceeded from there to the basement, damaging the screen door on the way in. Anderson said he fixed the door while the young man went downstairs.

Anderson testified that he had made a few trips to the basement and back when he noticed the lights of a police car.

When he went back down to the basement, the man was gone.

Anderson said the man he helped was a little shorter than he is, physically strong and very lean, with short hair and wearing black shoes with trim on the soles.

He was shown a pair of shoes that he said looked like the ones the suspect had been wearing.

When defence counsel Norm Clair asked if the man he saw was in the courtroom, Anderson looked first at members of the jury and then scanned the rest of the room, eventually locking eyes with Clark, who was staring back at him from the prisoner’s box.

“I couldn’t be 100 per cent sure,” Anderson said.

The trial continued with testimony from various police and expert witnesses, including Const. Simon Vigras, who tracked the suspect with his police dog, Cola.

Vigras said he and Cola picked up the trail in the park west of the Village Mall shopping centre and followed it south and down the hill to 60th Street, but lost it in the green space between Gaetz and 49th Avenues.

Searching outside homes on the south side of Hermary Street, Vigras testified that Cola found some money under a tree in one of the yards, but did not enter the Anderson home as part of their search.

Anderson’s son, Kristopher, testified that police were called to search the house because articles of clothing had been disturbed in his room and other items, including a hotel key card and a pair of sunglasses had been left on a desk in the main area of the basement.

The trial is scheduled to last until the end of next week, but is anticipated to finish earlier.

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