By Clair McFarland, Cowboy State Daily
A man who was in the right place at the right time Wednesday in Gillette helped police track down an alleged bank robber.
At about 9:09 Wednesday morning, someone called the Gillette Police Department to report that a man had robbed First National Bank on South Douglas Highway, according to an evidentiary affidavit filed Thursday in Campbell County Circuit Court.
Witnesses described the man as a white male wearing a coat, beanie and mask, who left the area in a silver Ford Mustang. He was later identified as Preston Selph, 33, of Texas.
‘You Have 10 Seconds’
A female bank employee said the man had shown her a note in his right hand that read along the lines of: “$2,000. You have 10 seconds.” The man kept his left hand hidden in his coat pocket, the woman said.
Fearing he was armed, she gave him $2,000, and the suspect left the area, the affidavit states.
Another bank employee who figured out what had happened when he heard the female teller ask where the panic button was, went outside and told friends that the man in the silver Mustang had robbed the bank. The teller went back inside to check on his coworker, according to the affidavit.
Meanwhile, a man who had been in the bank parking lot called the police department’s communications center to report that he was following the suspect on the road, according to Deputy Chief Brent Wasson of the Gillette Police Department.
The man followed Selph on the Interstate, headed east.
Campbell County Sheriff’s deputies and a Wyoming Highway Patrol trooper drove to the area and intercepted Selph near the county line.
They spoke to Selph and discovered in the Mustang nearly $2,000 cash and a note that said: “$2,000. I’m armed … You have 10 seconds.”
Wasson said because Selph had stopped to buy gas before heading for the Interstate, not all of the $2,000 was recovered.
Selph was arrested and interviewed, the affidavit says. Selph identified himself by name and would not discuss the robbery, but said he was glad to be off the street because he was homeless.
Law enforcement personnel are grateful to the man who chased Selph down and tracked his location, said Wasson.
“We are extremely grateful he saw something and reported it,” he said.
Selph is reportedly from Texas. He was alone when apprehended, Wasson said.
The Next Day In Court
Selph has been charged with aggravated robbery and faces between five and 25 years in prison and $10,000 in fines if convicted.
Campbell County Circuit Court Judge Paul Phillips on Thursday placed a $250,000 cash-only bond on Selph, saying he poses a flight risk and is charged with a “violent allegation.”
The prosecutor on the case, Nicole Ginger, had requested a bond of $10,000.
“The weight of evidence is significant, if not extraordinary in nature,” said Phillips. Ginger noted that Selph has a prior conviction from 2015 for a different aggravated robbery charge and was convicted of burglary in 2010.
Selph told Phillips that he hasn’t been employed since 2020, though he is not disabled or mentally ill.
“How have you been supporting yourself?” asked Phillips.
“Just – friends,” said Selph, adding that he’d just come from Seattle to Wyoming, is not married and has no children.
The prosecution is ongoing.