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Officers searching for man who robbed M&T outside Hagerstown

January 10, 2011|By DAVE McMILLION | davem@herald-mail.com
  • Washington County Sheriff's Deputy Major Bob Leatherman, left, talks with Deputy Rick Kemmerer outside the M&T Bank on Oak Ridge Drive after the bank was robbed Monday afternoon
By Ric Dugan/Staff Photographer

HAGERSTOWN — In at least the eighth bank robbery in the Tri-State area since Dec. 22, a man indicating he had an explosive device robbed the M&T Bank at 10721 Fairway Lane off Downsville Pike on Monday, according to Washington County Sheriff Douglas Mullendore.

An employee at the bank thought the man fled into a town house across from the bank after the robbery, but police did not find anyone in the complex, Mullendore said.

Police could be seen searching around the town houses along Clubhouse Drive and one officer had a rifle drawn as investigators searched the area. Two town houses were searched, Mullendore said.

“In reality, I think what he did is go between two (town houses),” Mullendore said at the scene.

Police, who were notified at 2:01 p.m., also used a dog in the search and a state police helicopter scoured the scene from overhead.

Although the man indicated he had an explosive device, none was displayed, Mullendore said. The man, who was wearing a black knit cap and a blue down coat, demanded cash and received an undisclosed amount, Mullendore said. He then fled the bank.

Children who were to be on a bus arriving in the area were taken back to their school until officers finished their work, Mullendore said, adding that he was not sure what school the students attend.

It was at least the eighth bank robbery in the Tri-State area since Dec. 22, and the second one in Washington County since Friday, when the M&T Bank on South Mill Street in Clear Spring was robbed.

The Clear Spring robbery occurred at about 4:45 p.m., when the robber got away with an undisclosed amount of money after handing a teller a note, police said.

Mullendore said investigators are looking into the possibility that Monday’s robbery and the Clear Spring holdup are related.

Mullendore said bank robbery sprees can sometimes be conducted by a group of people who need money for various reasons, such as supporting drug habits. Generally, the group “messes up” at some point and is caught, Mullendore said.

The M&T bank that was robbed Monday also was held up in 2009.

Monday’s robbery rattled residents in Towne Oak Village, where the town houses and other homes are situated.

Two residents stood outside their homes talking about the unfolding events.

One of the residents, a man, talked about crime and violence recently in the country. The man, who declined to give his name, said he thought crimes are being aggravated by the bad economy.

“They don’t have enough (money) to feed their families. The world’s getting all screwed (up),” the man said.

The man’s neighbor, who also declined to give her name, talked about the recent spike in local bank robberies.

“I’ll make sure my doors are locked tonight,” the woman said.

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