Authorities believe they have identified a note-passing bank robber who struck two banks yesterday in Montgomery County, and linked him to robberies in Baltimore and Howard counties.
Montgomery County police said yesterday they were seeking Christopher Michael Cline, 28, in connection with two bank robbery incidents in the White Oak area of Silver Spring.
FOR THE RECORD - An article in Saturday's Sun about a bank robbery suspect who recently robbed banks in Baltimore, Howard and Montgomery counties stated that the FBI could not be reached for comment. In fact, Barry Maddox, spokesman for the FBI's Baltimore field office, confirmed that the suspect -- Christopher M. Cline -- had a district court warrant issued for his arrest. The Sun regrets the error.
In the first incident yesterday, a man was unsuccessful in his attempt to rob Chevy Chase Bank in the 11200 block of New Hampshire Ave. Shortly after 10:30 a.m., he passed a note to a teller demanding money and implied he had a weapon, but the teller did not have a cash drawer.
About 20 minutes later, authorities believe the same man used the same method to steal an unspecified amount of cash from Sun Trust Bank at 12500 Prosperity Drive. No weapon was displayed in either incident.
Montgomery County police said they believe the same man held up a Sandy Spring Bank in the Colesville area of Silver Spring on Monday.
Montgomery police have issued an arrest warrant for Cline.
Reached at her North Laurel home last night, a woman who identified herself as Cline's mother said she had just learned moments before that her son was wanted by police.
"I just heard about this," she said. She said her mother told her about Cline being wanted by police after seeing a report on television news. The woman said "it's been a while" since she last saw her son.
Lucille Baur, a Montgomery police spokeswoman, said police identified Cline as a suspect after Monday's robbery, but declined to say how.
"As far as we know, he's working alone," Baur said.
The suspect also has been connected with two recent Howard County bank robberies - a Sun Trust Bank branch in Columbia on Nov. 3, and a Citizens National Bank in Elkridge on Oct. 25. Authorities also believe the suspect is responsible for four bank robberies in Baltimore County.
Bill Toohey, a spokesman for the Baltimore County Police Department, referred questions about the cases to the FBI field office in Baltimore. FBI officials could not be reached for comment.
Sherry Llewellyn, a Howard County police spokeswoman, said of the case: "We're working with Montgomery, we're working with Baltimore County and we're working with the FBI."
According to court records, Cline pleaded guilty in 1994 to robbery with a dangerous weapon and was sentenced to 6 1/2 years in prison, with all but 18 months suspended. He was released on probation. In 1998 he was found to have violated his probation and was resentenced to the Montgomery County Department of Corrections.
A judge ordered Cline's sentence suspended upon his acceptance into a treatment center, court records show.
A review of electronic property records showed that Cline had listed addresses in North Laurel, Gaithersburg, North Potomac and Germantown.