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Two held after bank robbery

July 21, 1997

By JULIE E. GREENE and BRENDAN KIRBY

Staff Writer

HALFWAY - An off-duty state trooper spotted a car in Frederick, Md., Monday morning that led authorities to two men they believe may have robbed the American Trust bank on Virginia Avenue earlier in the day, according to the Washington County Sheriff's Department.

Michael Scott O'Brien, 19, and Robert Hines, 22, were arrested less than an hour after the crime, deputies said.

Both were charged with robbery, felony theft, conspiracy to commit robbery and conspiracy to commit theft. O"Brien also was charged with second degree assault.

Sgt. Randy Wilkinson, who heads the department's criminal investigation unit, said a man walked into the bank at 17345 Virginia Ave. shortly after 9:10 a.m. and demanded money.

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He allegedly put his hand on his waist and demanded money from the teller, police said.

"I'll shoot you. I mean it. I want all your money," the man told the teller, police said.

The man then grabbed the money and ran out of the bank, formerly the Washington County National Bank, Wilkinson said.

A nearby resident saw a man running down the street clutching a bag and copied down the license plate number of the car he jumped into, he said.

"That's what started the ball rolling. "Everything just came together," Wilkinson said.

Authorities ran the number and matched it to a 1972 Chevrolet Caprice.

That car was spotted by Sgt. Steven Jessee, a member of the state police Special Tactical Assault Team Element.

Jessee, who was off duty, called police, Wilkinson said.

The car was stopped in the eastbound lane of the Golden Mile in Frederick and the two men were detained, Wilkinson said. He said the cash was recovered, but said no weapon was found.

Wilkinson said deputies also found clothes left near the Southside Bowl Inc. at 17325 Virginia Ave.

Wilkinson said the teller was taken to Frederick, where she identified two men.

Bank Vice President Ed Hose said no one at the bank was hurt.

The bank robbery was the 15th in the Tri-State area since last September.

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