Investigators in Berks County may have made a major break in a rash of recent bank robberies.
Police apprehended a suspect in the robbery of a credit union in Cumru Township thanks to an anonymous tip to Crime Alert Berks County, and police said he matches the description of the man responsible for other holdups in recent weeks.
That man, whose name has not been released, was captured by police within minutes after he allegedly slipped a teller a note and made off with about $1,000 in cash.
69 News was on the scene when the man was handcuffed and taken into custody. He was captured in the area of Harvey Avenue and Bingaman Street in Exeter Township, not long after he robbed the Visions Federal Credit Union on Thursday afternoon, said police.
"Working together we were able to stop and apprehend the alleged bank robber," said Chief Christopher Neidert, Exeter Twp. Police Dept.
The robbery inside the Giant Food Store, 600 E. Lancaster Ave., in the Shillington Shopping Center happened just after 2 p.m.
The robber wore a scarf over his face, slipped the teller a note and dashed out the door with approximately $1,000 in cash, said police.
"Especially here in the Giant, I mean that takes nerve to come in here and do something like that," said Karen Crocona, who lives in Shillington.
An alert was put out to police departments across Berks County, describing the robber as a white man who stands about 5 feet, 6 inches tall with a thin build.
Officers later stopped a man who matched the description driving a car in the area where Harvey Avenue, Bingaman Street and Butter Lane come together in Exeter Township. The man was taken into custody.
In addition to his alleged role in Thursday's robbery, the suspect matches the description of the man responsible for other bank robberies and attempted robberies in Berks County, police said.
Those robberies include:
- First Niagara Bank, 1191 Ben Franklin Hwy., Amity Township, on Feb. 10;
- M&T Bank, 2715 N. Meridian Blvd., Spring Township, on Feb. 12;
- Visions Federal Credit Union, 4655 Perkiomen Ave., Exeter Township, on Feb. 19;
- Metro Bank, 3045 N. 5th St. Hwy., Muhlenberg Township, on March 2.
Police are also investigating an attempted robbery at the National Penn Bank in Exeter Township on Feb. 11.
"It seems like desperation almost," said Darlene Symons, who saw the police cruisers when she entered the Giant.
"People don't want to work for their money anymore. It's just an easy way out to rob a bank. It's upsetting," said Crocona.