Bank robbed, manager taken hostage in car chase Suspect captured after automobile comes to a dead end, police say

April 10, 1996|By Ed Heard | Ed Heard,SUN STAFF

A man robbed a Prince George's County bank yesterday and held the manager hostage during a high-speed chase into Howard County that ended when the car hit a dead end, police said.

The robber fled on foot and was tackled by officers after shooting at a motorist during a failed carjacking on Maryland Route 216, police said.

Trevor Placido Benjamin, 28, of the 14000 block of Bramble Lane in Laurel was being questioned by FBI agents last night. He faces state and federal charges related to the robbery of the Equitable Federal Savings Bank in the 11600 block of Beltsville Drive in Calverton yesterday, said Cpl. Barry Beam, a spokesman for the Prince George's County police.

The bank manager, whose name was not released, was not injured, police said.

"It was a surprise to the manager," said Timothy Anderson, vice president of operations for Equitable. "All things considered, he is doing very well."

The bank was closed yesterday as police gathered evidence.

At 8: 26 a.m., police said, a man armed with a semiautomatic weapon grabbed the bank manager in the parking lot and forced him inside the bank before opening time. Their entry triggered an automatic alarm system and alerted police.

When Prince George's police and FBI agents arrived, they saw the man holding the manager at gunpoint. No other employees were inside the bank.

After several minutes, the gunman took an undisclosed amount of money and walked the manager at gunpoint past police officers outside. He got into the manager's car and forced the manager to drive.

Police followed the car through the streets of Calverton, over the county line into Montgomery County, north on U.S. 29 into Howard County and east onto Maryland Route 216 in North Laurel, said Sgt. Steven Keller, a Howard County police spokesman.

At one point, the gunman made the hostage turn left onto Old Scaggsville Road. But police said that's when the chase slowed as the car rolled into a dead end near Interstate 95.

"He probably didn't know where he was going," Sergeant Keller said.

The man fled on foot, leaving the hostage behind. He fired several shots at police officers and ran about 100 yards to a traffic ramp on eastbound Route 216 to I-95. Officers did not shoot back, Corporal Beam said.

Once on the ramp, the man stepped into the road and pointed his gun to stop a driver, but the driver sped past the gunman. The robber fired one shot into the passing vehicle, but the driver was not hit, Sergeant Keller said. The driver went to his workplace in North Laurel and reported the incident to police.

Police caught the man shortly after he got to the highway. Officers confiscated the gun and collected bullet casings from the scene, police said.

Pub Date: 4/10/96

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