'Dynamite' toting woman thief turns out to be man 2 arrested in robbery at downtown bank

June 08, 1993|By Michael James | Michael James,Staff Writer

A man dressed as a woman and claiming to be armed with dynamite robbed a downtown Baltimore bank yesterday and was arrested as he attempted to make his get-away on a Metro train, where he hurriedly tried to wriggle out of his dress and into other clothing, police said.

Police said they arrested a second man, an alleged accomplice, at a South Street parking lot, where he was carrying a Hecht's shopping bag containing an undisclosed amount of loot.

The robbery occurred about 11:10 a.m. at the Maryland National Bank branch in the first block of Light St., when a man wearing

TC heavy facial makeup, a yellow and gray full-length dress and a strawberry-blond wig gave a teller a note, police said.

It read, "It's going to go off in 15 minutes," and with that, he put a "device" on the counter, said Agent Doug Price, a city police spokesman.

The device consisted of three or four red highway flares taped at each end with dark black tape, with a clock attached so as to appear like a timing mechanism, Agent Price said.

"It was supposed to be sticks of dynamite, and the bank people were taking no chances," Agent Price said.

While the teller put some bills in to the Hecht's bag the robber provided, another teller hit the alarm, police said.

The robber grabbed the shopping bag, ran from the bank to the corner of Light and Redwood streets, where several witnesses reported seeing him hand the bag to an accomplice, who was not dressed as a woman, police said.

The two men ran in opposite directions, with the cross-dresser attempting to rub the make-up off his face as he ran clumsily in women's shoes, witnesses told police.

"It was just short of the noon hour. There were a lot of people around and we got some superb descriptions," Agent Price said.

According to police, the man with the bag ran about three blocks to South Street, where a city police officer spotted him after hearing a radio call about the robbery. He was was arrested without incident and all the money was recovered, police said. Meanwhile, the man in the dress headed down Redwood Street and ducked into an alley, where he threw away his wig, police said.

He ran about three blocks to the entrance to the Charles Center Metro station, where numerous train riders saw him hurriedly yanking off his clothes and still trying to wipe off his makeup as he boarded a train.

City police were called, who in turn notified Mass Transit Administration police that an armed-robbery suspect in drag had apparently boarded one of the trains.

The train made an emergency stop at the next station and the alleged robber -- who subway riders said was squirming about on a seat trying to wriggle out of his dress and into a cover-all -- was found without any trouble. "A lot of people noticed him. He was trying to change out of his clothes surreptitiously, but he didn't have much success," Agent Price said.

Police arrested two suspects in the case, Robert Waldorth Mallette III, 33, of the 2100 block of Fulton Ave., and Kevin Burrell, 32, of the 1800 block of Kavanaugh St. Both were being held at the Central District lockup and were to be transferred into FBI custody last night.

Police said the bank robbery was the second of the day in Baltimore. About 10 a.m., a man walked into the First National Bank in the 700 block of N. Howard St. and gave a teller a note demanding money. He escaped with an undisclosed sum, police said.

Yesterday's bank robberies bring the city's total for the year to 58, compared with 19 at the corresponding time last year.

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