2 armed men order tellers into back room, rob bank

January 13, 1994|By Michael James | Michael James,Staff Writer

Two armed men herded six workers at an East Baltimore bank into a back room yesterday, looted cash drawers and fired a shotgun blast into the floor before escaping, city police said. No one was injured.

The robbery occurred about 11 a.m. at the Provident Bank of Maryland branch in the 2900 block of O'Donnell St., when the men entered and ordered everyone to lie on the floor, police said.

No customers were in the bank. While three tellers at the front of the bank were lying on the floor, one robber -- armed with a shotgun -- went to a back room and confronted the manager and two other tellers, police said. The other robber was carrying a silver handgun.

Eventually, six employees were ordered into a restroom at the rear of the bank, and one then was ordered to help empty the cash drawers, police said.

The robbers put the cash into a canvas bag they had brought with them, police said.

Just before leaving, one of the men fired a shotgun into the floor, police said.

"We don't know why the shot was fired. It may have been done for effect or it may have been done inadvertently," said Agent Doug Price, a police spokesman.

The men fled, driving east on O'Donnell Street in a red and black Pontiac Firebird.

An hour later, the car was recovered in the 3000 block of McCulloh St., where it had been abandoned, apparently after the robbers switched cars, investigators said.

A shotgun and empty canvas bag were inside the Pontiac, which had been reported stolen Monday from Security Square Mall in Baltimore County.

Officials of Provident Bank, which has 41 branches in the Baltimore area, said they are offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to the conviction of yesterday's robbers.

"The employees are naturally very upset. One of them was forced at gunpoint," said Marcia Goldman, a spokeswoman for Provident Bank. She said that crisis counseling was being offered to the workers.

"Whether the robbers are armed or not, these holdups are very frightening to our employees. We always offer them counseling right away," Ms. Goldman said.

The robbery is Baltimore's fifth this year, compared to two at this hTC point in 1993. Last year, the city had a record 116 bank robberies. Provident Bank branches both in the city and surrounding counties were robbed 13 times last year, about twice as many as the previous year.

One of the robbers was described as black, in his 20s, about 6 feet tall and wearing a short black jacket with a dark-colored hood. He wore a black hat under the hood.

The other man was black, about 5-foot-8, and wore a long, green trench coat.

Anyone with information about the robbery is asked to call city investigators at 396-2636 or the FBI at 265-8080.

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