Kearneysville man charged with bank robbery in Inwood

January 28, 2011|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD |

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — A 47-year-old man was arrested minutes after police say he robbed the Inwood, W.Va., branch of City National Bank Friday afternoon and attempted to kidnap the bank manager.

Stephen Kent Slone of Kearneysville, W.Va., was charged with bank robbery and attempted kidnapping, Berkeley County Sheriff's Deputy Lt. Gary Harmison said.

Slone, of 87 Russell Way, was being held in Eastern Regional Jail Friday night awaiting arraignment on the charges, Harmison said.

The robber was wearing a black, balaclava mask, a construction-style hard hat, camouflage jacket and blue jeans when he entered the bank in southern Berkeley County at 14 Sader Drive and asked to speak to the manager about 2 p.m., Harmison said.  

In the bank, the robber told the manager, "Give me the money, and no one would get hurt,'" Harmison said.

After he was given an undisclosed amount of money, the robber attempted to take the bank manager with him when he left, but she was able to talk him out of it, Harmison said.

The manager was shaken, but not injured, Harmison said.

In attempting to flee, Slone also attempted to take her car, but was unable to get the vehicle started, Harmison said.  

The vehicle had a push-button starter, and he didn't know how to start it, Harmison said.

The robber did not brandish a weapon, but Slone was found with a .22-caliber handgun and a large amount of money a few minutes after he fled on foot from the bank in the direction of Interstate 81, Harmison said.

Slone was spotted coming out of a wooded area about 100 yards from the bank in the Pilgrim Street area by Sheriff's Deputy M.T. Longerbeam, Harmison said.

Slone admitted committing the robbery and told investigators he did it because he needed the money, according to Harmison.

Harmison said the firearm that Slone had in his possession was not reported stolen, but the deputy could not say whether it belonged to the defendant.

Slone's arrest comes a little more than a year after his former wife, Flor D. Slone, was arrested for kidnapping and then shooting him in the chest in October 2009. The shooting happened after she reportedly learned that her then-estranged husband had removed her as a beneficiary from his insurance policy, according to court records.

Flor Slone was indicted in May 2010 on counts of kidnapping, attempted first-degree murder, attempted malicious assault and malicious assault. Her trial is scheduled for April 26.

Harmison said the bank robbery was the latest in a recent spate of area robberies, but noted that he believes only one — at the BB&T Bank branch office at Winchester Avenue and Apple Harvest Drive on Dec. 30 — remains unsolved.

Harmison agreed that the number of bank robberies recently has been higher than normal.

Coincidentally, the Inwood bank robbery Friday occurred less than five hours after a suspected bank robber in Takoma Park, Md., tried to escape using a hostage, but was fatally shot by police.

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