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Berks bank robbed for 3rd time

By John Craven, Reporter, JCraven@wfmz.com
Published On: May 26 2014 05:54:00 AM CDT

Credit union robbed in Berks County

READING, Pa. -

Not once, not twice, but three different times. That's how many times the same bank has been robbed in Reading. The latest hit was this weekend, and neighbors are starting to get nervous.

"It makes you think are you really safe in the city," said Emmanuel Mercado, who lives nearby. "It just makes you concerned for safety."

According to Reading police, the latest robbery happened Saturday morning at the Riverfront Credit Union at 430 S. Fourth St. It's the third time robbers have targeted this bank in just more than a year.

"People think it's like an easy target or something," said neighbor Danny Gonzalez. "That's why they got robbed by three different people."

Longtime neighbor Luz Rodriguez said robberies are unusual because this is typically a safe neighborhood.

"My parents have been here over 50 years living here and never -- it was always a safe area," she said.

Police said the robber has a distinctive look. He's short and stocky, an African-American man who stands about five feet, seven inches tall and weighs more than 200 pounds. Police said the robber had a beard; he was wearing a light gray hooded sweatshirt and dark cargo shorts.

The robber was last seen running north on Carpenter Street, investigators said.

Mercado works at a credit union and said holdups are on the rise citywide in Reading.

"The place I work with -- thank God it hasn't gotten robbed yet, but just different institutions around have gotten robbed," he said.

Neighbor Scott Krilin added: "To me, it's becoming more commonplace than not -- that everybody thinks it's easy enough to just go walk into a bank and take what's not yours and try to get away with it."

The Riverfront Credit Union was robbed was last August, and also last April. Police quickly arrested suspects in both those cases.

Anyone with information is asked to call Reading police at 610-655-6246 or 610-655-6116. Anonymous calls can also be made to Crime Alert Berks County at 877-373-9913.