Suspect in four bank holdups escapes police headquarters

March 27, 1996|By Peter Hermann | Peter Hermann,SUN STAFF

A man arrested in four bank holdups escaped custody yesterday when he slipped out of handcuffs and walked out of an interview room at downtown police headquarters.

Police said Thomas Y. Hooper, 45, of the 2900 block of Goodnow Road managed to get by two city detectives and two FBI agents who were talking about the case in an outside hallway. The suspect was being sought last night.

A second suspect arrested in the robberies, William Arthur Bailey 3rd, 47, of the 5700 block of Winthrop Ave. remains in police custody. The men were charged with four counts of bank robbery in four holdups of Harford Road banks since March 19.

Police arrested the men yesterday morning after raiding a home on Goodnow Road.

Two NationsBank branches, a Signet Bank and Hamilton Federal Savings and Loan -- all between the 5400 and 7600 blocks of Harford Road -- were robbed, police said.

Agent Robert W. Weinhold Jr., a city police spokesman, said Mr. Hooper was being interviewed in a third-floor room about 2: 15 p.m. and had been handcuffed to a U-bolt, an upside-down metal-shaped "U" attached to a desk and designed to detain prisoners.

When the four detectives finished their interview, they walked into the hallway to discuss the case. They were gone no more than five minutes and when they returned, Mr. Hooper was gone.

The spokesman said the man apparently got out of the cuffs, walked out of the room and slipped by the officers by ducking down one of several hallways.

Agent Weinhold said the escape triggers an automatic internal investigation. The spokesman said it is "not uncommon to leave suspects alone in a secured room during the interview process."

The suspect is described as 5 feet 9 and 130 pounds. He has brownish-gray hair parted in the middle. He was wearing a dark blue striped shirt and blue jeans.

Pub Date: 3/27/96

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