Woman robs bank in downtown Columbia She indicates in note that she has a bomb

June 16, 1996|By Alisa Samuels | Alisa Samuels,SUN STAFF

Howard County police are searching for a woman who robbed a downtown Columbia bank Friday morning after indicating she had a bomb.

No one was injured and no weapon was displayed in the robbery, which occurred at 9: 50 a.m. at Taneytown Bank & Trust Co. in the Clark Building, in the 5500 block of Sterrett Place, police said.

The woman walked into Taneytown Bank, which had just opened, approached a teller at the counter and handed over a manila envelope, said Sgt. Steven Keller, a police spokesman. A note on an envelope indicated that the robber had a bomb and wanted money.

"Hurry up," was the only thing the woman said, according to Keller. "The teller stuffed money into an envelope and the suspect fled on foot," he said.

Because the parking lot behind the Clark Building is large and busy, police weren't sure in which direction the robber fled. "Anybody on foot could easily disappear on this lot," Keller said.

Three employees were in the bank during the robbery, Keller said, and there were no customers.

Initial reports on a police scanner indicated that $2,000 was taken, but Keller said police couldn't verify that amount because the bankers had not completed an inventory.

The robber was described as black, 5 feet 4 to 5 feet 5 inches tall, with a thin build, police said. She had long, dark hair in a ponytail and was wearing dark sunglasses, a dark-colored jacket, a white or gray shirt with "Georgetown" on the front, blue jeans and a baseball cap, Keller said.

Howard police are asking nearby police departments whether they have had similar robberies. Keller said it was unusual for a woman to rob a bank but that "I'm sure it's not the only one to occur."

As is customary in bank robberies, the FBI was called in.

The presence of police and yellow police tape cordoning off the bank drew onlookers. Customers were greeted with the note: "Temporarily closed. Please use night drop if possible. Sorry for the inconvenience."

"I hope they didn't take my money," said a woman who arrived at 10: 30 a.m. "We are covered by insurance, I presume."

Officials at the bank's headquarters in Westminster said money stolen during a bank robbery is insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

Before walking away from the bank Friday, the unidentified customer said, "I thought this was a safe place."

Metro Crime Stoppers is offering a reward of up to $2,000 for information leading to an arrest and indictment.

Anyone with information can call the Metro Crime Stoppers Hotline at (410) 276-8888.

Pub Date: 6/16/96

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