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Third local bank robbed in four days

January 10, 2006|by ERIN CUNNINGHAM

HAGERSTOWN

erinc@herald-mail.com

Hagerstown Police are searching for a man who robbed a Salem Avenue bank Monday, the third area bank robbery in four days.

Hagerstown Police Sgt. Paul Kifer said while the number of robberies is unusual, he does not believe they are related.

"We can't explain why we've had this rash of bank robberies," he said.

Susquehanna Bank, at 1326 Salem Ave., was the most recent to be robbed. A man walked into the bank Monday about 12:15 p.m. and handed a teller a note, Kifer said.

In the note, the man claimed to have a weapon, police said. The bank teller gave the man an undetermined amount of money before the man fled from the bank, Kifer said.

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Bank employees said they did not see a weapon during the robbery.

The last time the man was seen, he was walking east on Salem Avenue, police said.

Officers searched the area but were unable to locate the man by late Monday, Kifer said.

The man was described as white, heavyset, possibly in his 60s, 6 feet tall, and unshaven with gray hair, police said. He was wearing a yellow shirt with a checkered pattern and a dark baseball cap at the time of the robbery, police said.

Anyone with information about this robbery may call police at 301-790-3700.

Hagerstown Police charged a man Sunday with robbing Hagerstown Trust, at 830 W. Franklin St., on Friday.

Harold Wayne Etheridge Jr., 29, of 46 Alexander St., was charged with armed robbery, robbery, first- and second-degree assault and felony theft, police said.

Etheridge allegedly walked into the bank through the front doors and gave a female teller a note demanding money, according to Washington County District Court documents. In the note, Etheridge allegedly claimed to have a gun.

The teller placed money on the counter for Etheridge, who then fled from the bank on foot, according to documents. Bank personnel later determined that Etheridge allegedly had stolen more than $500 in cash, documents state.

Police on patrol Saturday near High Street and Washington Avenue saw Etheridge, who matched the description of the man involved in the robbery. A bank employee identified Etheridge through a photo array as the man who robbed the bank, documents state.

Etheridge was arrested without incident at his home Sunday at 5:45 p.m., police said.

He was being held Monday on $200,000 bail at the Washington County Detention Center, according to a spokesman there.

A man who allegedly stole more than $6,000 from a bank Friday was arrested just minutes after the robbery.

Washington County Sheriff's deputies charged Jason Lee Wyant with two counts of robbery, two counts of armed robbery, carrying a handgun on his person, using a handgun during a violent crime, two counts of first-degree assault, two counts of second-degree assault and theft, according to court documents.

Wyant allegedly robbed Hagerstown Trust, at 17803 Virginia Ave. in Hagerstown, about 10:15 a.m. Friday. Documents state he had a handgun and demanded money from two bank tellers.

Wyant allegedly fled from the bank on foot and was last seen running toward a wooded area near the bank.

Sheriff's deputies, Maryland State Police and Hagerstown Police responded and searched for Wyant. A deputy saw Wyant walking near 1119 Moller Ave., less than one mile north of Hagerstown Trust, wearing only blue jeans and a T-shirt, despite cold temperatures, documents state. Police questioned Wyant and found a large amount of money in his pant leg, documents state.

He told officers he threw the gun and clothes in the woods as he was running from the bank, according to documents. Police later found the clothes and a Walther air pistol.

Bank officials said Wyant stole $6,639 from tellers, documents state.

He was being held Monday on $250,000 bail at the Washington County Detention Center, according to a spokesman there.

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