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Virginia Avenue bank robbed

March 12, 2004|by BRIAN SHAPPELL and PEPPER BALLARD

shappell@herald-mail.com
pepperb@herald-mail.com

HAGERSTOWN - A man who robbed bank near Hagerstown Thursday afternoon was still at large eight hours after the incident.

Maryland State Police troopers responded about 1 p.m. to reports of a bank robbery at Fidelity Bank, 17708 Virginia Ave., according to a police news release. The robber entered the bank, handed a note to the teller demanding money and left on foot, police said.

State police Sgt. Mike Hegedus said the man was last seen running toward the Food Lion.

Hegedus said no weapon was brandished during the robbery. He declined to release specifics of the note, including whether or not the man claimed to have a weapon.

Just before 9 p.m., Hegedus said the suspect had not been taken into custody.

Hegedus said a reward of up to $4,000 was being offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the robber.

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Trooper Troy McDonough, who is involved in the state police investigation and prepared the news release, could not be reached for comment.

The suspect is described as a 5 foot-8 inch to 5 foot-10 inch, heavy white man with collar-length dirty blond hair and tattoos on his neck and hand, police said. Police said he was last seen wearing a light-colored hooded sweat jacket, blue jeans, sneakers and a purple Baltimore Ravens ball cap.

Police released surveillance photos late Thursday afternoon of the man they believed robbed the bank.

Following the robbery, customers continued to drive into the bank's parking lot as Maryland State Police cruisers, a K-9 unit's sport utility vehicle and a criminal investigation unit van remained parked in front of the bank.

A state trooper followed a dog's lead into the bank and came back out shortly afterward, trailing the dog from a lengthy leash over a small hill that runs between the bank and AutoZone.

An employee stood from behind the bank's glass front doors, on which a sign was posted that said the bank was closed "due to an emergency." She allowed only Hagerstown Police Department detectives and state troopers into the bank.

Dick Pepple, a delivery driver with AutoZone, said he was standing on the side of the automotive supply store when a bank employee came over the small hill and asked the group with whom he was standing if anyone saw a man run by them.

"We know nobody came down through here because we was standing right there," he said, motioning to the side of the building.

"If he went anywhere, he went that way," he said, pointing toward the Food Lion grocery store that sits behind the bank.

Police are asking anyone with information on the robbery to call Maryland State Police's Hagerstown barracks at 301-739-2101 or the Washington County Sheriff's Department at 301-733-4141.

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