Police consider appeal for help to catch suspect

April 02, 1996|By FROM STAFF REPORTS

Baltimore police looking for a suspected bank robber who escaped from custody last week at police headquarters have expanded their search to North Carolina and may go on national television to plead for help.

Thomas T. Hooper, 45, who has been charged in federal warrants with five counts of bank robbery, has a North Carolina driver's license and ties to that state, said Lt. Larry Leeson, head of the robbery unit.

The lieutenant said investigators may take their case to the national television show "America's Most Wanted." He said two dozen police officers and FBI agents have run down hundreds of leads and arrested the suspect's friends on outstanding warrants, but have come up empty.

"I can't believe we haven't caught up with this guy," Lieutenant Leeson said yesterday. "He's a street person. He's known to live in cardboard boxes. He's difficult to catch if he doesn't go back to his old haunts."

Mr. Hooper was arrested March 26 and charged with holding up four Harford Road banks in nine days. But left unattended in an interview room, the man slipped off his handcuffs and escaped. Police said he is a suspect in a fifth bank holdup.

Pub Date: 4/02/96

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