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WASHINGTON MUTUAL SAFE-CRACKERS DISCOVER NOTHING IN ACQUIRED SAFE - JUST LIKE "GERALDO"

 SEATTLE, July 7 /PRNewswire/ -- A 3 1/2-foot-tall, sturdy safe remained locked for years in the vault of the former Pacific First Bank branch at Third & Spring in downtown Seattle. No one had the combination and everyone assumed it was empty -- it was, Washington Mutual announced today.
 Washington Mutual, which recently acquired Pacific First, had two professional locksmiths crack the safe today in the bank's vault. It took about 45 minutes. The only thing inside: a lot of old air and about 1,000 canceled Pacific First checks dating back to 1982.
 Frank Gillern, Washington Mutual's locksmith, and Robert Barbour Sr., owner of Seattle-based Accurate Safe and Lock Co., attempted to manipulate the combination using sensitive listening devices. After 15 minutes, they decided to drill the safe open, which took 30 minutes.
 "You never know what you're going to find when you open an old safe -- this time we found nothing," said Bob Strauss, manager of the Third & Spring branch and Washington Mutual's Tower Financial Center.
 Washington Mutual discovered the unopened safe while taking inventory of Pacific First's assets. No one at the branch remembers seeing the safe open. Pacific First Bank acquired the safe and an identical one -- also without a known combination -- when it bought Prudential Bank in 1988. Pacific First opened the first safe last summer and discovered hundreds of old silver dollars, some dating back to the late 1800s and early 1900s. The coins were bank property and did not belong to any customers.
 Founded in 1889, Washington Mutual is the largest local, independent bank in the state.
 -0- 7/7/93
 /CONTACT: Roger Nyhus of Washington Mutual, 206-461-6390/


CO: Washington Mutual Savings Bank ST: Washington IN: SU:

JH -- SE007 -- 9163 07/07/93 15:31 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jul 7, 1993
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