Probe continues into Hagerstown bank robbery

October 24, 2007|By ERIN JULIUS

HAGERSTOWN - The Washington County Sheriff's deputy who relinquished his service weapon to one of two masked robbers Monday has worked for the department's patrol unit for about a year, Sheriff Douglas Mullendore said Tuesday afternoon.

Deputy Scott Beckley was the first officer on the scene of Monday afternoon's robbery at the M&T Bank branch at 930 Dual Highway. When Beckley confronted the masked robber, the man pointed a shotgun at the deputy and told him to give up his gun, investigators said.

After the robber had the service weapon, he shot at Beckley's police cruiser, Hagerstown Police Chief Arthur Smith said Tuesday. The bullet hit a front tire's rim, Hagerstown Police Sgt. Paul Kifer said.

Mullendore declined to comment further on the incident because it is under internal review, he said.

Beckley, who started working for the sheriff's department at the Washington County Detention Center in September 1998, will be given a few days off to recover and to speak with a counselor, Mullendore said.


Information about Beckley's service weapon, a .40-caliber Beretta, was entered into the National Crime Information Center database, Mullendore said.

Kifer said police were thankful that the robber chose to shoot only at the vehicle, in an apparent attempt to disable it, and not at the deputy.

Investigators were concerned that someone trying to rob a bank took it as far as shooting a gun, Kifer said.

Armed officers from Hagerstown, the sheriff's department and Maryland State Police searched a wooded area between the M&T Bank and a nearby Weis Market as state police helicopters circled Monday afternoon.

Officers were searching for a black man, described as about 5 feet 11 inches to 6 feet tall and skinny, who was wearing a black coat, black baggy jeans, white sneakers and a ski mask. He was holding a shotgun, police said.

Police also were looking for a black man, described as about 5 feet 7 inches to 5 feet 9 inches tall and weighing more than 200 pounds, who was wearing a dark coat, baggy sweat pants, surgical gloves and what appeared to be pantyhose over his head.

Based on witness accounts, investigators believe the two men fled in a vehicle that was in a parking lot near Weis, Kifer said.

No additional information about the investigation was available Tuesday night, Smith said.

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

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