In audio of the Monday 911 call, the caller can be heard telling a dispatcher on Whidbey Island the made-up story.
“He lives in a tent with his girlfriend. He says he shot his girlfriend on accident and how he's suicidal,” the caller said.
The operator pressed the caller for details: “Hold on, listen to me one second. He shot his girlfriend?”
The caller replied: “My phone’s about to die!”
The few members of Island County Sheriff’s Office on duty at the time raced to the scene of the purported a crime, but when they got to the wooded area they found no evidence of a murder. That’s when a second call came in indicating a bank robbery was happening at Wells Fargo in Clinton, located miles away from the officers’ location.
“I think the officers realized that they’d been duped and that we needed to respond immediately to the actual crime scene,” Island County Sheriff Mark Brown told ABC News.
A photo released by police shows a man wearing a black face mask, hood and camouflage jacket. Police say the suspect robbed the bank at gunpoint and fled in a bank employee’s car.
Whidbey Island, located north of Seattle, is better known for its picturesque views and quiet life.
Investigators say the last armed robbery on the island occurred at the very same bank two years ago and under very similar circumstances. In a 911 call later traced to a payphone, a caller reported a murder, sending police chasing in the wrong direction just before that robbery took place.
Investigators are considering whether the two robberies could have been committed by the same person and have brought in the FBI to assist in analyzing the 911 tapes.
“We’re certainly following leads to see if we can do some voice analysis,” said Sheriff Brown.
The stolen car used in the robber’s getaway was found Monday but the suspect is still on the loose, authorities told ABC News.