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Man ordered to stand trial in bank robbery

December 04, 1996

By MARLO BARNHART

Staff Writer

Accused bank robber Michael Shawn Clark was bound over for trial in Washington County Circuit Court following a preliminary hearing Wednesday.

After hearing testimony from Maryland State Police Trooper 1st Class Michael Potter, Washington County District Court Judge Noel Spence found there was sufficient probable cause to hold Clark for further prosecution in Washington County Circuit Court.

Clark, 31, of 141 King St., has been held on $125,000 bond since Nov. 13 when a bank robbery culminated in a high-speed chase through Hagerstown's North End. Clark was arrested when his car crashed into a fence near the Hagerstown Fairgrounds.

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Clark is charged with armed robbery, robbery, felony theft, first-degree assault, use of a handgun in commission of a felony, transporting a handgun, reckless endangerment and a number of traffic violations, including speeding, according to court documents.

Potter said Clark was taken into custody by Washington County Sheriff's Deputy 1st Class Paul Boyer after a tense moment in which he briefly put a gun in his mouth, police said.

"Clark threw the gun on the floor of the car,'' Potter said. Police recovered a loaded gun, a knit cap with holes cut out for the eyes, and $2,901 believed to have been stolen in the 10:55 a.m. robbery at the Hagerstown Trust Co. branch at 19922 Jefferson Boulevard.

Potter said the robber told a woman teller to fill up a bag with money. After getting the money, the man fled through a rear door.

"Two female clerks followed him out the door and saw him get into a vehicle in the Keller's Upholstery parking lot,'' Potter said.

Once in the car, the man removed the mask, and the women were able to give police his description, the tag number and description of the car he was driving, Potter said.

Boyer was eastbound on Jefferson Boulevard when he heard the police broadcast and began the pursuit.

The chase reached speeds of up to 85 mph in a 40 mph zone on Eastern Boulevard, according to police reports.

At about 11:11 a.m., the suspect turned into the alley parallel to North Mulberry Street, but failed to make the 90-degree turn and struck the fence.

Boyer stopped about five or six feet away, but when he saw the driver attempting to back up and get away, he drove his cruiser into the back of the suspect's car in an attempt to pin it against the fence, police said earlier.

No one was injured in the incident.

Five years ago, Clark was indicted for bank larceny in the January 1991 robbery of the First National Bank branch at Valley Mall. The charges later were dropped, according to police reports.

Two other people were prosecuted in U.S. District Court in Baltimore for that robbery, which involved a fake bomb.

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