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Bank branch robbed for third time

October 08, 1998

Bank RobberBy KIMBERLY YAKOWSKI / Staff Writer




For the third time in less than two years, the Hagerstown Trust Co. branch at West Side Avenue and West Franklin Street was robbed Wednesday.

No one was injured in the robbery, according to Hagerstown City Police, who would not disclose the amount of money taken.

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The robber entered the branch at 1:05 p.m. and passed a hand-written note demanding cash to a teller, said Lt. Gary Spielman. The robber did not display a weapon or indicate that he had one during the three or four minutes he was inside the bank, Spielman said.

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One customer was in the bank at the time, Spielman said.

After the teller handed over the money, the man ran to Alexander Street. In an alley between Franklin and Washington streets, he met a man police believe was an accomplice.

The robber was described as a black man in his late 20s, 6 feet 2 inches tall with a medium build. He was wearing a black ski cap, sunglasses, a dark sweatshirt and sweatpants, police said.

The man he met in the alley was described by witnesses as Hispanic, about 5 feet 6 inches tall, with facial stubble. He was wearing a gray sweatshirt, Spielman said.

Police said the robber may have changed clothes in the alley before fleeing south on Alexander Street with the other man.

Spielman said a duffel bag containing clothing similar to that worn by the robber while he was in the bank was found in the alley.

Police arrived within two minutes after the robber left the bank, he said.

The customer in the bank said he was not aware the branch was being robbed until the robber left the building, according to police.

Dave Barnhart, Hagerstown Trust vice president of marketing, said that although Wednesday's robbery was the third at that branch since February 1997, he doesn't think the location is being targeted.

The branch was robbed on Feb. 24, 1997. No one was ever charged in that robbery.

The description of the man in that robbery was similar to that of the man who robbed the bank on Wednesday. Spielman refused to speculate on whether the same man might have been responsible for both robberies.

The branch was hit again on Oct. 23, 1997. In that case, the robber was apprehended and sentenced to five years for the robbery.

Barnhart said the bank has no plans to upgrade security at the branch.

"We feel confident in the security we have and the way the employees handled themselves in the situation," he said.

"We will work closely with the authorities to provide all the access they need, including access to security tapes. We'll give them every bit of cooperation they need," Barnhart said.

The bank's 15 branches in Washington County have high-resolution cameras, he said.

"We will continue to keep security measures up. They're at a high level right now ... We do our best to keep the customers safe, that's our top priority," he said.

Anyone with information about the crime may call police at 301-790-3700, ext. 234.

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