Police fear more robberies will occur after bank holdup suspect escapes

March 28, 1996|By Peter Hermann | Peter Hermann,SUN STAFF

Dozens of police officers and federal agents scoured the city yesterday for a man who escaped police headquarters after being charged with holding up four Harford Road banks.

But Thomas Y. Hooper, 45, charged with four counts of bank robbery, was nowhere to be found. City police say they are worried that more robberies will occur.

"Certainly special attention is being given to all banks in Baltimore City," said Agent Robert W. Weinhold Jr., a police spokesman. "At the time he was apprehended, he gave absolutely no indication that he planned to cease and desist his actions."

Mr. Hooper is charged with robbing two NationsBank branches, a Signet Bank and Hamilton Federal Savings and Loan -- all between the 5400 and 7600 blocks of Harford Road -- since March 19.

He and another suspect, who remains in custody, were arrested Tuesday morning. That afternoon, Mr. Hooper slipped out of his handcuffs and walked out of an interview room while two city detectives and two FBI agents talked about the case in a hallway, police said.

Mr. Hooper also is suspected in several commercial armed robberies, police said.

Police said no weapon was used in the bank heists. Agent Weinhold said the robber showed tellers a note threatening to stick them with a human immunodeficiency virus-infected needle if they did not turn over money.

"We consider him armed, dangerous and someone who may continue his violent acts if he is not apprehended," Agent Weinhold said.

The suspect is described as a white male, 5 feet 9 inches tall, 130 pounds, with brownish-gray hair.

Pub Date: 3/28/96

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