Suspect charged in bank holdups

Man convicted in 1994 of robbing two of the same branches

`This is unusual'

April 20, 1999|By Peter Hermann | Peter Hermann,SUN STAFF

Baltimore police and FBI agents arrested a 33-year-old man yesterday and charged him with holding up three banks in the past week -- including two he was convicted of robbing five years ago.

Victor Fossett was released from federal prison March 1 for the 1994 robberies of a First National Bank of Maryland branch in downtown Baltimore and a First Union Bank branch in western Baltimore County.

Yesterday, he was charged with robbing the same two branches on successive days last week, along with a First Mariner Bank at 16 S. Calvert St. in downtown Baltimore, which police said was held up yesterday afternoon.

"It's certainly an understatement to say this is unusual," said Special Agent Peter A. Gulotta Jr., a spokesman for Baltimore's FBI office.

In an unrelated holdup yesterday, a man with a threatening note robbed a NationsBank branch in Northwood Shopping Center in Northeast Baltimore about noon.

A security guard briefly gave chase but failed to catch him, even though police said the suspect fell down when he tried to hail a taxi to make a getaway. Police said they have not made an arrest, but recovered a blue nylon jacket the man apparently dropped as he fled.

Yesterday's robberies brought the city's total this year to nine, compared with 12 at the same time in 1998. It also marked the first time since September that two banks were robbed the same day.

Fossett, of no known address, was to be turned over last night to federal authorities, who had obtained arrest warrants from last week's holdups. He could be arraigned today on three counts of bank robbery at U.S. District Court in Baltimore.

Details of the 1994 holdups could not be obtained yesterday. But Agent Ragina L. Cooper, a city police spokeswoman, said that in each case, the robber passed a note to a teller demanding money. A weapon was never displayed.

Police said Fossett was convicted in 1994 and spent five years in prison.

Less than two months after his release, police charged him in an arrest warrant secured last week in the holdup of the First National at 25 S. Charles St. on Wednesday and the First Union at 1750 Rolling Road in Baltimore County on Thursday.

Yesterday, after a note-passing bandit robbed the First Mariner Bank at 1: 45 p.m., police and FBI agents said they tracked the suspect to his girlfriend's house in the 1200 block of West Franklin St.

Heavily armed tactical officers swarmed the area about 2: 30 p.m. and said they arrested Fossett inside the house.

Police declined to release further information on the robberies, including how much money was taken or whether it was recovered.

Pub Date: 4/20/99

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