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Police seek armed man who robbed credit union branch near Hagerstown

March 04, 2013|By C.J. LOVELACE | cj.lovelace@herald-mail.com
  • Police surround a duplex on Virginia Avenue looking for an armed man who robbed the Bulldog Federal Credit Union bank on York Road Monday in Hagerstown. No one was found inside.
By Colleen McGrath/Staff Photographer

An armed bank robber remained on the loose Monday evening after a police search of a Virginia Avenue residence in Hagerstown did not turn up a suspect.

Washington County Sheriff’s Office deputies — looking for a white male armed with a handgun who robbed the Bulldog Federal Credit Union bank branch at 17555 York Road — surrounded two buildings between 17620 and 17628 Virginia Ave., shortly after the 3:05 p.m. robbery, according to Det. Dave Sanders of the sheriff’s office.

Sanders said the man, who was wearing dark clothing and a ski mask, got away with an undisclosed amount of money and fled on Piper Lane toward St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church.

Police used a K-9 track that led them to the residence at 17624 Virginia Ave., a white, duplex Cape Cod-style residence, Sanders said.

With a Maryland State Police helicopter hovering overhead, sheriff’s office deputies armed with rifles and shotguns set up a perimeter around the buildings.

Once members of the county’s Special Response Team arrived just before 4:30 p.m., police made entry into the units at 17624 and 17626 Virginia Ave., Sanders said.

“The residence was searched and secured, and the suspect was not located,” he said. “... We have no idea where he’s at.”

At one point, police could be heard using a bullhorn to tell anyone inside the home to come out with their hands up.

Standing in the parking lot of the Old Orchard shopping center across the street from the surrounded homes, Robin Miller, who lives next door at 17620 Virginia Ave., said she was at work when the incident began.

“I’m having an anxiety attack,” she said, as police were staging nearby before making entry into the homes about 4:40 p.m. “I’m just worried about my animals.”

Police shut down Virginia Avenue between Halfway Boulevard and Oak Ridge Drive at about 4 p.m. as they prepared to enter the homes. The road was reopened around 5 p.m. as units began clearing the scene.

The office manager of St. Joseph’s said one of the houses is owned by the church’s associate pastor.

Dozens of people gathered in the parking lot of the shopping center with cellphones and cameras just after police arrived.

The onlookers were later told by a sheriff’s deputy to move back because they could be “in the line of fire” if gunfire broke out between police and the armed man believed to be inside.

Most people moved away from the road, but many remained sitting in their cars before they were again ordered to move further away.

Officers from Maryland State Police and the Hagerstown Police Department assisted the sheriff’s office during the nearly two-hour ordeal.

The sheriff’s office, with the assistance of state police, were continuing to search for the man into Monday night, Deputy Carly Hose said in a news release.

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