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Failed Ranson bank robbery attempt leads to police chase, arrest

Mark Daniel Haines was charged with robbery, fleeing and obstructing

December 27, 2010|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD | matthewu@herald-mail.com
  • Mark Daniel Haines
West Virginia Regional Jail and Correctional Facility Authority

RANSON, W.Va. — A Harpers Ferry, W.Va., area man accused of robbing the drive-through window of a City National Bank branch in Ranson Monday was arraigned Tuesday on multiple charges by magistrates in Jefferson and Berkeley counties.

Mark Daniel Haines, 40, of 152 Red Bird Lane in the Shannondale subdivision, is charged with two counts of possession of a stolen vehicle, fleeing, obstructing and robbery, according to magistrate court records.

Haines, whose drivers' license listed a Wheeling, W.Va., address, was in Eastern Regional Jail Tuesday on a $250,000 bond set by Jefferson County Magistrate William E. Senseney, and a $10,000 cash-only bond set by Berkeley County Magistrate JoAnn Overington, according to court records.

Haines' arrest comes as police continue to investigate a string of area bank robberies in which a suspect wearing a ski mask has demanded money from the drive-through window.

Berkeley County Sheriff's Deputy Lt. Gary Harmison said Tuesday that the Ranson robbery attempt appears to closely match accounts of area bank robberies, including one in Berkeley County and another in Washington County, Md.

Harmison said Tuesday that he and other agencies are continuing to investigate whether the robberies are connected.

Detective Casey Barnes of the Washington County Sheriff's Office said the department is also investigating a possible connection. Barnes said she traveled to Berkeley County Tuesday to discuss the cases with other authorities.

Like the Ranson robbery, which was reported at 4:50 p.m. Monday, police have said a white male suspect was wearing a ski mask and glasses last week in the drive-through window robberies of BB&T Bank at 1111 Winchester Ave. near Martinsburg and the Susquehanna Bank at 17301 Valley Mall Road in Hagerstown.

The suspect in all three cases also was driving a pickup truck, police said.

While the suspect obtained an undisclosed amount of money in the Martinsburg and Hagerstown robberies, the suspect left the bank at 75 West Virginia Way in Ranson without any money, police said.

The suspect that police on Monday later identified as Haines donned an orange ski mask and glasses when he appeared at the drive-through window in a small white pickup in The Marketplace at Potomac Towne Center in Ranson, police said. He also was wearing gloves, police said.

The robber told the teller that he knew where she and another teller he saw in the bank lived. He then said: "I know she is calling the cops, and I know you are pressing the alarm. Give me $4,000 and no one gets hurt," according to a complaint filed against Haines by Ranson police Officer Charles Lynch in Jefferson County Magistrate Court.

The teller told police that she told her co-worker to duck and then ran into the lobby, according to court records.

Police said they later learned that the white Dodge Ram 50 that the suspect was driving without registration on it was reported stolen Monday from the Holiday Inn Express in Spring Mills, according to Berkeley County Sheriff Kenneth M. Lemaster Jr. and a complaint filed by Sheriff's deputy T.A. Sherman.

After leaving the shopping center, police believe Haines fled west in the pickup on the new four-lane route for W.Va. 9 and exited at Currie or Wiltshire roads to Charles Town Road (old W.Va. 9), Sigulinsky said.

Haines was captured less than 30 minutes after the robbery was reported, but only after leading officers from the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department, Berkeley County Sheriff's Department, West Virginia State Police, Shepherdstown and Ranson police departments on a high-speed pursuit.

The pursuit crossed the Jefferson County-Berkeley County line multiple times, traversing Charles Town Road east and west between Kearneysville and Baker Heights and then on W.Va. 480 to Shepherdstown and W.Va. 45 west toward Martinsburg, police said.

The pursuit ended at 5:18 p.m. in a farm field near a wooded area off Files Cross Road, according to police and court records.

During the pursuit, the truck traveled at speeds of 80, 90 and 100 mph and passed other vehicles in an attempt to elude police.

Near Winebrenner Road's intersection with Files Cross Road, "stop sticks" deployed by a Berkeley County Sheriff's deputy slowed the pickup, but Haines continued driving, traveling on Files Cross Road about a quarter of a mile before going into the field where police said the man jumped out of the truck and attempted to flee.  

Jefferson County Sheriff Robert E. "Bobby" Shirley, who was one of the first officers to get to Haines in the field called the dangerous, high-speed pursuit "one hell of a ride."

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