Bank robberies may be related

By LeaAnne Klentzman

In what can only be described as a bungled trifecta, the county’s latest three bank robberies may be related.

It all started on Wednesday, November 21, 2012 when two men robbed the Houston Community Bank located at 13811 FM 1092 near Houston Community college in Stafford. In that case the two entered the bank wielding pistols demanding money at about 2 in the afternoon.

According to Stafford police spokesman Raphael Virata, the men ran into the bank, one jumped the counter and began to load cash into a bag from a teller’s drawer while the other lurked in the lobby. As the counter-jumper was loading his loot into his bag, many of the bank employees escaped out the back door of the building to wait for police.

The two crooks fled out the front door and left the scene in a white Suburban that had been reported stolen out of Montgomery County. Virata said the getaway car was found just blocks away, abandoned behind some trees on Cash Road.

Interestingly pink paint splatters were all over the inside of the Suburban’s windows. Virata said the red/pink dye was an indication that the dye pack in the stolen money had exploded inside the vehicle. The Suburban and some cash were recovered by police and FBI agents.

The next bank robbery pulled by two men who very much resemble the Stafford duo was on the following Wednesday near Sugar Land. Sheriff’s spokesman Bob Haenel said at 9:03 a.m. Wednesday, morning, Nov. 28, 2012, deputies responded to a robbery call at the Chase Bank, located in the 5800 block of New Territory Boulevard in the New Territory subdivision.

He said that two armed men entered the bank with bandanas covering their faces dressed in baggy suits and floppy brimmed hats. He described the suspects as white males, one being about 6’1″ to 6’3″. The other suspect is about 5’9″, he said. In this incident as in the Stafford robbery, many bank employees were able to escape out the back door of the bank; with no one to give the gun wielding crooks any cash, they left this bank empty handed. The getaway vehicle was identified as light-colored Chevrolet Impala.

At press time the last reported bank robbery believed to be attributed to this pair was reported on Friday, November 30, 2012, at 1:53 in the afternoon. In this robbery just one of the duo walked into the Capital One Bank in the 11500 block of Highway 6 S near the Woodbridge subdivision wielding his gun, again jumping the counter and demanding cash.

Haenel said provided surveillance photos showed a lone suspect entering the bank wearing a suit, sunglasses, a black or dark blue bandana and a floppy hat. Haenel described him as as a light-complected male. He was waving a gun at the tellers and provided them with a black or gray bag to fill with cash. Responding law enforcement personnel swarmed the area. During the ensuing search evidence relating to the robbery was recovered. No robberies have been reported since last Friday.

Investigators from the Stafford Police Department, the Fort Bend Sheriff’s Office, and the FBI are working together on these cases.

Information which leads to the apprehension and or conviction of the suspect(s) involved could earn a reward of up to $5,000 from Crime Stoppers. Call Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office at 281-341-4665, Fort Bend Crime Stoppers, Inc. at 281-342-TIPS (8477) or text plus the tip to CRIMES (274637). Tips also can be submitted online at www.fortbend-tx-crimestoppers.org.

All calls to Crime Stoppers are anonymous.

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