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Fulton Bank turns to technology to stop rash of robberies at branch in Reading

By Dwayne Parker, Reporter, DParker@wfmz.com
Published On: Mar 19 2013 04:04:24 PM CDT
Updated On: Mar 20 2013 05:04:50 AM CDT

A rash of bank robberies has prompted Fulton Bank to change the way it does business at one of its branches.

READING, Pa. -

A rash of bank robberies has prompted Fulton Bank to change the way it does business at one of its branches.

Tellers at the branch on North Fifth Street, near Walnut, in downtown Reading will no longer be stationed at the counter, official said. Instead, customers will have to conduct business with television monitors.

For private conversations, customers will have access to a telephone, and deposits and withdrawals will be carried out using pneumatic tubes, similar to the ones used at a drive-up window, bank officials said.

It's not a popular idea for some bank customers.

"I mean, I like the people here. I do business here. I do business here all the time. I like being face to face with the people I deal with," said customer John Fielding.

This particular branch of Fulton Bank has been targeted by bank robbers several times over the past couple of months.

"I think it's terrible," said Marie Durante, a longtime customer. "It's amazing how they can do it right in broad daylight with all this traffic on Fifth Street."

Just last year, Heriberto Torres, 23, led an army of police on a wild chase through a vacant warehouse near Fourth and Elm streets. Police said he stole $6,000 in cash from the bank.

If the rash of robberies can be stopped using television monitors, some customers said they're willing to give it a try.

"I'll miss seeing the people in person, you know. I'm used to talking to the girls," said Durante. "Everything's robot nowadays."

The monitors are expected to be up and running in about four weeks, officials said.