12/02/05 — Bank location robbed ... again

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Bank location robbed ... again

By Kenneth Fine
Published in News on December 2, 2005 1:50 PM

MOUNT OLIVE -- Authorities are searching for a man who robbed the Peoples National Bank on North Center Street in Mount Olive about 3 p.m. Thursday.

Tellers described the suspect as a black man, 6 feet tall, wearing black pants and a red sweatshirt with a bandanna hiding his face. Reports said he was armed with two pistols.

Police said the robber fled south on James Street before escaping in a black Toyota truck.

No customers were in the bank at the time of the robbery and no one was injured, Mount Olive police Chief Emmett Ballree said.

Ballree said the robber entered the bank, showed a gun to tellers and took an undetermined amount of cash.

One of the four employees in the bank at the time immediately set off an alarm and officers arrived within minutes, Ballree said, but the man had disappeared.

"We got here quick, but the suspect had already gone," Ballree said.

A K-9 unit was brought in, but the dogs lost the suspect's trail, Ballree added.

"When that happens, it usually means the suspect got into a vehicle," he said.

The robbery was the third at the same location in the past four years. Previous banks operating in the building -- Centura Bank and Triangle Bank -- were also targets of armed robbers. In both cases, the thieves were caught and prosecuted.

Ballree said he believes investigators will be able to track the robber and apprehend him quickly.

"We've got some evidence, good statements and some leads," he said. "We feel pretty good about finding him."

The FBI is expected to help with the investigation. An agent was scheduled to be in town today to review the case.

Ballree said photographs of the suspect might be available, and he urged anyone with information about the robbery to contact investigators at 658-5031, or they can call Crime Stoppers at 735-3255.