Bank Robberies

Title: Western Carolina University Lockdown Lifted, Bank Robbery Suspect In Custody
December 14, 2011

Abstract: Western Carolina University Police have lifted the lockdown on campus after authorities arrested a man who was suspected of robbing a bank near the campus Wednesday morning.

"The Community may resume normal activities at this time. We will maintain a larger police presence on campus for the remainder of the day but again, we are lifting the shelter in place and believe that the Campus Community is safe and may go about their normal activities," Police Chief Ernie Hudson wrote in an alert on the school's emergency website.

The 'Shelter-In-Place' alert was ordered just before 11am out of caution, although the gunman had not been spotted on the school's campus.

There were no reports of sightings on campus during the 2 hour lockdown.

The gunman had been described as a white male, wearing a mask, a hooded maroon sweatshirt, and blue jeans with a patch. Hudson confirmed a dye pack went off as the suspect left the scene of the robbery.

The name of the person arrested by Jackson County Sheriff's investigators was not immediately released.

While normal activity has resumed on campus, Interim Provost Beth Lofquist said the final exam schedule would be altered because of the lockdown.

"Today's face to face exams are postponed until further notice – including the exam scheduled for noon." she wrote.

"Exams are not canceled all together. They are postponed until further notice. The noon face-to-face exam is canceled and will need to be rescheduled," she added.

"The exam schedule will resume with this afternoon's 3 p.m. exam. More information will be provided concerning the make-up of today's exam scheduled for noon. Faculty will work with students who are unable to attend an exam session due to the interrupted schedules," an email from University Spokesperson Teresa Tate revealed (WBTV, 2011).

Philadelphia Police, FBI Searching For Muslim Serial Robbers
April 6, 2012
CBS Philly

Abstract: The Philadelphia Police Department and the FBI are seeking the public’s help in identifying the suspects connected to a bank robbery last month.

At about 12:20 p.m., on March 20th, police say two suspects walked into the Sovereign Bank in the 8000 block of Stenton Avenue. They presented a threatening demand note to the teller, obtained an undisclosed amount of cash, and then fled the area on foot.

Authorities say these suspects are repeat offenders and are responsible for several bank robberies in Philadelphia between December 23, 2011 and April 4, 2012.

The following banks were robbed, according to authorities:

MoreBank in the 400 block of W. Cheltenham Ave. on December 23, 2011 and March 14, 2012

3rd Federal in the 6000 block of Roosevelt Blvd. on January 6, 2012

Sovereign Bank in the 8000 block of Stenton Ave. on March 20, 2012

Wells Fargo in the 700 block of Adams Ave. on April 4, 2012

The suspects are both described as black, having a thin build, 5’10” tall, with black Muslim-like garments covering their heads and bodies.

If you have any information, you are asked to contact police right away (CBS Philly, 2012).

Title: Suspects Sought After Hollywood-Style Bank Heist
Date: September 6, 2012

Abstract: Authorities investigating a bizarre bank heist on Thursday searched the home of a bank manager who was told to strap what she believed was a bomb to her midsection and was forced to order employees to "take out all the money" from her branch.

Two masked gunmen got away with an undisclosed amount of cash from the Bank of America when it opened Wednesday morning, but no one was injured in the robbery. No arrests had been made as of Thursday afternoon.

Boxes of evidence were removed from the bank employee's home, according to Lt. Neal Mongan of Huntington Park police, whose detectives are leading the kidnapping portion of the probe.

The bank manager was snatched in front of her home Wednesday morning, said sheriff's Capt. Mike Parker. She arrived at her workplace wearing the device.

"She was told that it was explosives and she was ordered to go into the bank and take out all the money," Parker said. "She did do that in fear for her life."

A Los Angeles County sheriff's bomb squad disabled the device, but investigators said it wasn't an explosive.

She ordered her fellow employees to remove the cash from the bank and it was thrown to the men who were waiting outside, authorities said. Parker would only say there was "a decent amount" of money at the bank and the manager did enter the safe.

The two men, who were armed with handguns and wore ski masks, took off in a two-door car and remain at large.

Parker said the woman remained inside the bank until a bomb squad arrived and removed the device from her body. The bomb squad later disabled the item with a robot. Nearby businesses were evacuated for a few hours as a precaution.

Investigators initially said they didn't believe the manager knew the robbers but they have conducted interviews to ensure she wasn't connected to the crime.

Authorities haven't said how the bank manager was targeted by the robbers. Investigators are trying to determine if there were any video surveillance cameras that captured the incident. They added that no further information about the bank video or 911 calls were being released.

Southern California has long been a target for bank robbers. Its most infamous heist was the televised shootout between Los Angeles police and two gunman wearing body armor in 1997. Both robbers were killed.

The area saw a three-decade low in bank robberies last year, tallying more than 280 across seven counties. In 1992, there were more than 2,600.

Using a bank manager to rob their own business is rare, authorities said, let alone strap a purported explosive device to an unwilling victim.

At least two movies have similarities to Wednesday's heist. "Bandits," a 2001 film starring Bruce Willis and Billy Bob Thornton, follows two inmates who escape from prison and start a bank robbery spree that includes kidnapping bank managers.

"30 Minutes or Less" from 2011 involves two ne'er-do-wells who force a pizza delivery driver to rob a bank while wearing a time bomb vest. The filmmakers said the movie wasn't based on the 2003 Pennsylvania collar-bomb case in which a pizza driver pizza delivery was killed when a metal bomb collar he was forced to wear while robbing a bank exploded (AP, 2012).

Title: Bank Manager's Boyfriend Arrested In Fake Bomb Robbery
Date: September 13, 2012

Abstract: A 33-year old man has been arrested in a bank robbery during which the manager says she was kidnapped and forced to rob her own bank while wearing what she thought was a bomb.

Ray Vega, of Bell, was taken into custody the day after the September 5th heist. He was charged with conspiracy and robbery, and then released on $100,000 bail.

There are unconfirmed reports that Vega was romantically involved with the bank manager.

Police did not release any further details, saying the investigation was ongoing.

The victim told police she was leaving her Huntington Park home for work at a Bank of America in East L.A. when two masked men snatched her in her garage.

They strapped what they told her was an explosive device to her chest and instructed her to drive to her bank and give them money, police said.

The manager entered the bank at Atlantic Blvd. and Verona St. just after 8:30 a.m., shortly before it was supposed to open for business.

She informed her colleagues inside about the device and she collected the money, authorities said.

The woman followed instructions to throw the money out the bank's back doors, and the two robbers sped away in a car. They avoided being seen on bank video cameras.

Moments later, the bank alerted the East Los Angeles sheriff's station.

The sheriff's arson and explosives team arrived at the bank and removed the device from the woman safely.

KTLA's Sky5 was overhead as the woman exited the bank, unharmed.

Several hundred people were evacuated from the area as a sheriff's bomb squad robot inspected the device, which was in a gutter in front of the bank.

Then a bomb squad specialist in full protective gear surrounded the device with sandbags and detonated it.

Authorities said it did not appear that the device was an active bomb.

"We believed based on physical appearance that it could very well be an explosive device, and they very carefully removed that device from her body," said Los Angeles County Sheriff's Capt. Mike Parker.

"It looked like one to everyone involved -- her, deputies, bomb squad technicians -- but in the rendered safe procedure, they found that it was not an explosive device," he said.

The victim's name has not been released. The FBI and local police interviewed her at length, but have released few details about what exactly happened.

The suspects were said to be driving a white Kia with the partial California license plate number 6HOR54
(KTLA News, 2012).

Title: Bank Robbery Attempt, Bomb Threat Prompts Evacuations
October 6, 2012
CBS 8 News

A bogus bomb threat issued by a pair of would-be bank robbers -- one taking part in the crime via telephone -- forced the full evacuation and closure of a large South Bay strip mall for several hours Thursday.

The failed holdup attempt began about 9:15 a.m., when a tall, thin woman entered a Chase bank branch in the 1100 block of East Plaza Boulevard in National City, carrying two bags and wearing a hooded sweatshirt with the head covering pulled tight across her face, leaving only her eyes visible, according to police.

As alarmed employees watched, the woman put down the sacks -- one red and the other green -- on the floor of the lobby, Sgt. Mike Harlan said. Moments later, a man telephoned and told a worker the green bag contained a bomb that would be detonated unless the red one was filled with $100,000 in cash.

The masked woman then ran out of the bank, after which the bank workers made a 911 call and cleared everyone out of the office, Harlan said. Patrol officers arrived about two minutes later, surrounded the strip mall and evacuated the roughly two dozen businesses inside it, he said.

Police simultaneously searched the area for the robbers by ground and air.

A sheriff's bomb squad was sent in to determine if the bomb threat was valid, the sergeant said. The team sent in a robot with X-ray and video capabilities into the bank to look over the bags.

About 11:30 a.m., the explosives squad remotely detonated the sacks, determining that nothing hazardous had been inside them, police Sgt. Dennis Leach said. A short time later, authorities reopened the shopping center to workers and the public, he said.

Next to a free-standing kiosk near the bank, investigators found the female bandit's hooded jacket. A witness reported seeing her take the garment off and throw it to the ground while fleeing the area on foot to the west, Harlan said (CBS 8 News, 2012).

Title: Redwood City Police Follow Trail Of Money To Suspected Bank Robber
October 25, 2012
Mercury News

A 24-year-old San Mateo man who robbed a Redwood City bank this week but left a trail of stolen bills that police followed to track him down pleaded not guilty to a robbery charge Wednesday, according to the San Mateo County District Attorney's Office.

Kendrick Roby entered the BBVA Compass Bank at 660 Woodside Road at about 11 a.m. Monday, vaulted the counter and demanded money from the bank employees, according to a Redwood City Police Department statement.

After threatening to shoot the employees if they did not obey his orders, Roby allegedly opened a cash drawer and removed an undisclosed amount of money. He then fled, running northbound on Oxford Street. Police were called immediately after the robbery occurred, according to police.

A witness reportedly saw Roby run into an apartment complex on the 1500 block of Oxford Street, two blocks away from the bank, and notified police. During an area search, police followed a trail of money to an apartment complex on the 1500 block of Hudson Street, where they found Roby.

"We did find some money that was discarded and that's what continued us on the path to where he was hiding," Sgt. Sean Hart said. "Bait" money with dye pack was inside the bag of money Roby stole from the bank, but it did not explode, Hart said.

Roby was taken into custody without incident and the stolen money was recovered; police did not find a gun, Hart said.

Roby is being held in lieu of $50,000 bail and is due back in court on Nov. 5. Police are also investigating whether Roby may have been responsible for a robbery on Oct. 12 at the US Bank at 1475 Woodside Road, Hart said (Mercury News, 2012).

Title: Judge: Aurora Police Were Justified In Stopping 25 Cars At Gunpoint In Search For Bank Robber
October 26, 2012
Denver Channel

A federal judge has ruled that Aurora police didn't violate the law when they stopped 25 cars, detaining dozens of drivers and passengers at gunpoint, until they caught a suspected bank robber in a SUV last June.

The June traffic stop at East Iliff Avenue and South Buckley Road triggered a barrage of criticism from innocent motorists who said police  blocked their cars while officers with shotguns and rifles went car-by-car, pulling out people at gunpoint and handcuffing them.

"Cops came in from every direction and just threw their car in front of my car," said Sonya Romero, who was one of the drivers handcuffed, told 7NEWS at the time. "We all got cuffed until they figured out who did what."

"We didn't know if we were in the line of fire or what the hell was happening," Romero said.

Eventually police came to a white Ford Expedition and arrested the suspected bank robber driver.

The other drivers were then released. The whole ordeal lasted about two hours.

The suspect, Christian Paetsch, was arrested on bank robbery charges during the traffic stop.

His defense lawyer argued that because the stop was unconstitutional, the bulk of the evidence against Paetsch -- including money stolen from the bank, a disguise and two pistols -- should be tossed, the Aurora Sentinel reported.

But in a 30-page ruling handed down Tuesday, United States District Court Judge William J. Martinez said that, while the stop was out of the ordinary, police acted appropriately.

Martinez said some statements Paetsch made to police about the guns in his car won't be allowed at trial because the officers improperly questioned him after he asked for a lawyer, the newspaper reported. But the guns themselves, which police found when they searched Paetsch's SUV, will be allowed as evidence.

Paetsch’s trial is scheduled for December.

Federal prosecutors said Paetsch, a former music teacher, robbed the Wells Fargo Bank at East Hampden Avenue and South Chambers Road a day after a banker there refused to renegotiate his loan (Denver Channel, 2012).

Title: Authorities Search For Serial Bank Robber
November 1, 2012

Authorities are searching for a bank robber who struck not once, but twice, police said.

According to authorities, the alleged crook was caught during one of the robberies armed with a shotgun. The suspect demanded money from a teller back in August, police said.

The crook took off with cash from the Chase branch along East Commercial Boulevard and North Dixie Highway. Investigators said the same man hit a nearby Bank of America, less than a month later.

If you recognize this man, call Broward County Crime Stoppers at 954-493-TIPS. Remember, you can always remain anonymous, and you may be eligible for a reward worth up to $5,000 (WSVN News, 2012).

Title: Alleged Bank Robber Shot Dead, Deputy Injured During Chase
November 3, 2012

Police had to shut down Interstate 95 northbound for hours Friday after a police-involved chase, crash and shooting that left a suspect dead and a police officer hospitalized.

One police officer had to be transported to the hospital following the incident, between Copans and Sample Roads, at around 11:20 a.m. Friday. Meanwhile, a suspect lay dead among several crashed cars, including a police patrol car.

According to the Broward Sheriff's Office, it began with police responding to an attempted robbery at a Chase Branch, about three miles away from the crash scene, on the 2200 block on North Federal Highway. It turns out the suspect was not stranger to this bank.  FBI Agent David Bell noted, "We've been looking for this individual now for about eight months. He has hit numerous banks ... particular banks he's hit numerous times, including the bank he went to today. He's hit it two other times."

He entered the bank in a ski-mask and pointed a gun at a customer's head and demanded cash. He aborted the bank robbery once he realized the bank had installed bulletproof glass to protect the tellers, and he couldn't jump over the counter. After The suspect took off in a gray pickup truck, a bank employee and a citizen took down his license tag.

While driving northbound on 95, an officer noticed the pickup truck and tried to stop him. The suspect collided with the patrol car and both of them skidded off the road.

BSO said, the suspect exited the smashed vehicle with a gun in hand, and he was shot dead. Broward Sheriff Al Lamberti did not identify the suspect but did detail some of his alleged accomplishments. "Another serial bank robber is taken off the streets of Broward County," he said, "and this was a serial bank robber with a criminal history going back to 1977, has served three years in federal prison for bank robbery."

A police officer, later identified as 48-year-old German Bickbau of the Pompano Beach substation, was injured when he too ran off the roadway during the crash and then struck a barrier wall. Air rescue was called out to transport the officer, who is a 12-year veteran with BSO. He had complained of neck and stomach pain, but he is in stable condition at the hospital.

The helicopter's landing forced the initial closure of the highway both north and southbound. Up until 4 p.m., the northbound lanes were completely closed as police continued to investigate. Though they re-opened three lanes for traffic, the back ups continued for some time (WSVN News, 2012).

Title: $41,000 Goes Missing After Brinks Truck Overturns In Accident In North Carolina
November 8, 2012
NY Daily News

A fistful of dollars? Try a truck full.

Deputies are searching for $41,000 that reportedly went missing after a Brinks armored truck overturned in an accident earlier this week.

Money scattered from the Brinks truck when another vehicle crashed into it on Highway 52 in Lexington, N.C. The truck ran off the road, struck an embankment and flipped over shortly before the incident was reported at 9:25 p.m. Monday, according to the Lexington Dispatch.

The North Carolina Highway Patrol initially claimed that all of the truck’s money had been retrieved. But, during an audit, Brinks officials realized that the truck was short $41,000 and filed a report with the Davidson County Sheriff’s Office late Tuesday night.

Brinks employees Michael Gerringer, 32, and John Baldwin, 23, were injured in the accident and transferred to the Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem. Baldwin was in good condition, but Gerringer, the driver, was in serious condition, according to hospital officials.

Mayda Brotons, 47, crashed into the truck while changing lanes in a Kia. Her vehicle swerved to the left and stopped on the median. She was charged with improper lane change and an insurance/registration violation, reported the Lexington Dispatch.

The cost to repair the Brinks truck is about $300,000, a highway patrol spokesperson estimated.

The Davidson County Sheriff’s Office is conducting an investigation into the incident.

Brinks Worldwide Headquarters did not respond to an interview request (NY Daily News, 2012).

Title: Father, Son And Daughter Arrested In Bank Robberies
November 18, 2012
ABC News

A father, son and daughter may be responsible for robbing as many as seven banks in two states, according to authorities.

Ronald Scott Catt, 50, and his two children, 20-year-old Hayden and 18-year-old Abby were arrested last week on charges they robbed a credit union in Katy, Texas.

Deputies with the Fort Bend Sheriff's Office in Texas say the family, which recently moved to the area, could also be responsible for several other robberies in Texas and their native Oregon.

During the Oct. 1 robbery in Texas, two figures, who appear to be Ronald and Hayden Catt, entered the bank in disguises and toting guns before leaving with money and jumping into a getaway car driven by Abby Catt.

The break in the case came when authorities were able to track down the distinctive orange vests the men wore to a local Home Depot. A review of the surveillance tape showed the family purchasing the disguises at the store.

Eric Lundeen told ABC News he knows the Catt family and said they seemed like "really solid community members".

"He was a single dad. I think he lost his wife and he had the responsibility to take care of his kids and I got to tell you, he was there for them," Lundeen said.

The father and son duo are being held in the Fort Bend County Jail on $140,000 bonds after being charged with robbery.

Abby Catt's bond has been set at $100,000 (ABC News, 2012).