Frustrated Baltimore County police are searching for four robbers who stole an undisclosed amount of money from a bank on Baltimore National Pike, then commandeered a pickup truck to flee.
Police aren't sure how the bank robbery near Westview yesterday fits into at least two dozen other holdups plaguing the city and county since late last year, including two Sunday in Essex and Carney.
E. Jay Miller, a county police spokesman, said it's not immediately known if the crimes are linked.
"I honestly don't know," Miller said. "It's a lot of guesswork. We just hope we're able to get a break before someone gets hurt."
In previous robberies, a gang of armed men displaying shotguns and semiautomatic handguns has terrorized patrons and employees in supermarkets, fast-food outlets and banks by demanding and taking money in a short period of time. A number of pedestrians in Towson and Loch Raven also have been robbed by men armed with shotguns.
In the holdup about 3:40 p.m. yesterday, four men, three of them armed, entered the Household Bank in the 5500 block of Baltimore National Pike and announced a robbery.
One gunman -- described as black, 6 feet 2, 175 pounds, `D wearing a black nylon ski suit and white tennis shoes and carrying a double-barreled sawed-off shotgun -- jumped over a counter with a blue nylon athletic bag and told a teller to fill it with money, police said.
Apparently the teller moved too slowly, so the gunman began filling the bag, police said.
After getting the cash, the four left the bank and stopped in a parking lot.
There, they approached a man in a pickup truck and forced him out at gunpoint, police said.
The robbers sped off in the man's truck, which later was recovered on Stamford Road in Baltimore, police said.
It wasn't clear if the gunmen had planned to steal someone's car or if they resorted to that after a getaway driver failed to arrive, police said.
Police have descriptions of the other three robbers, too.
The second gunman is black, 6 feet 3, 170 pounds, wearing a tan trench coat and brim hat. He has a full beard and was carrying a 9mm handgun, police said.
The third robber is black, about 5 feet 10, 160 pounds, wearing black clothing and carrying an Uzi-type gun, police said.
The fourth man, who didn't appear to be armed, is black, 6 feet 4, 170 pounds, wearing a gray suit, gold wire-framed glasses and a gray hat. He had cornrows pulled into a ponytail, police said.
On Sunday, two different groups of armed men robbed two McDonald's fast-food outlets in Essex and Carney and escaped with an undisclosed amount of cash, Baltimore County police said.
Two men armed with handguns approached three McDonald's workers outside the eating place in the 1000 block of Eastern Blvd. after closing about 12:30 a.m. The employees were forced back inside, where one of them opened a safe at gunpoint,
Later, about 10:30 p.m., the McDonald's in the 2100 block of E. Joppa Road was robbed by four men, three armed with shotguns. The robbers ordered employees to lie on the floor and forced another employee to empty the safe and counter cash registers.
Again, police were hard pressed to say if the armed men in Sunday's robberies were suspects in any other of the armed holdups.