December 14, 2012

Police laud Skowhegan bank workers' actions during Thursday robbery

Franklin Savings Bank robber eludes dragnet, still at large Friday afternoon

By Doug Harlow dharlow@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

SKOWHEGAN -- Police continued an investigation Friday into the robbery of a Madison Avenue bank.

click image to enlarge

Michael Emmons, Skowhegan police chief, emerges from the drive-through teller bay at Franklin Savings Bank on Madison Avenue in Skowhegan on Thursday, while investigating a robbery.

Staff file photo by Michael G. Seamans

click image to enlarge

A Skowhegan Police cruiser sits parked next to Franklin Savings Bank on Madison Avenue after a robbery on Thursday.

Staff photo by Michael G. Seamans

Chief Michael Emmons said officers and detectives searched a wide area around Franklin Savings Bank, which was robbed just before 5 p.m. Thursday by a hooded man who said he had an accomplice with a rifle outside.

By late afternoon Friday, there had been no arrests, Emmons said.

Emmons said employees did the right thing by complying with the robber's demands, locking the doors and immediately calling 911 after he left.

"We do robbery prevention training for all of our financial institutions," Emmons said Friday. "Things that we want them to be alert to -- their surroundings, such as the landscaping around the financial institution to make sure there's no hiding places and not to touch anything around the area to preserve evidence."

He said the institution's employees are taught how to identify a particular type of weapon using flash cards during training with police. They later are quizzed by police instructors using video robbery scenarios.

"After the scenario, we put it on pause and ask what can they can describe to us as far as what the person was wearing," said one of the instructors, Skowhegan police detective Dan Summers.

Employees also are taught to recall exactly what the robber says and how the person looks and is dressed. Employees also are instructed to note people loitering outside the building or people asking what time the bank opens and closes.

"If someone is asking these type of questions, we train them to be alert and make notifications if something doesn't seem right," Emmons said. "Be vigilant."

The man was described as white and about 60 years old, wearing layers of dark clothing and a dark, hooded sweatshirt.

He wore an orange hunting baseball cap with a skull cap over the top and black gloves. The robber appeared to be about 5 feet, 6 inches tall and did not wear a mask, according to Emmons.

The robber handed a female teller a note demanding cash and showed her a plastic bag to put the money in.

He did not display a weapon.

The teller handed over an undisclosed amount of cash and the man escaped on foot, Emmons said. He said there was no evidence of another person outside with a rifle, and witnesses did not see a getaway vehicle.

Skowhegan police officers, along with Somerset County sheriff's deputies and Maine State Police, searched the area using tracking dogs in an attempt to find the robber.

Doug Harlow -- 612-2367
dharlow@centralmaine.com

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