Gunmen take over bank Customers ordered to the floor in latest of aggressive holdups

September 13, 1997|By TaNoah Morgan | TaNoah Morgan,SUN STAFF

Two gunmen took over a Hanover bank yesterday, forcing 20 customers and employees to the floor and robbing a customer and a manager of keys before fleeing with an undisclosed amount of money in the manager's car, FBI officials said.

The robbery at the First National Bank branch in the 7500 block of Connelley Drive was the latest in a series of more aggressive robberies at banks in Anne Arundel County that have raised concerns among federal law enforcement officials.

"It's almost as if they have expectations based on the major TV movies on what to do in a bank robbery," said Stephen Tidwell, special agent at the Annapolis FBI bureau.

Nearly half of the 19 bank robberies in Anne Arundel and Annapolis this year have been take-overs in which two or more men armed with large-caliber handguns or shoulder weapons have ordered employees and customers around to gain access to the teller line or the vault. Last year, there was one such robbery in Anne Arundel.

In the past, bank robbers in Anne Arundel have typically used notes. In 14 of the robberies this year, they have used weapons, according to FBI statistics. Last year, weapons were used in five of 27 bank robberies.

In yesterday's robbery, pictures from video surveillance cameras show two gunmen walking into the bank just after 11 a.m. and announcing a holdup. They ordered the employees and customers to the floor while cursing and screaming, Tidwell said.

One of the robbers, who wore a blue T-shirt reading "Pure Playaz" and a Toronto Blue Jays baseball cap, walked back and forth in front of the teller counters with a gun demanding money. He pointed the semiautomatic pistol at those on the floor and behind the counter, and once put his finger on the trigger of the cocked weapon.

The men wore no masks or gloves.

The second man, whose face was not captured on the surveillance camera, wore a light-colored Nautica T-shirt and blue jeans. He had a revolver, officials said.

During the robbery, one of the gunmen stood on a customer's arm, Tidwell said. They took keys from a customer and the bank manager and fled in the manager's gold-colored Honda Civic, Tidwell said. Law enforcement officials found the Civic in an industrial park about three blocks away.

The Maryland Association of Bank Security is offering a $3,000 reward to anyone providing information leading to the arrest of the robbers. Anyone with information should call the FBI at (410) 265-8080 or county police at (410) 222-8610.

Pub Date: 9/13/97

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