Friday, Aug 27–Suspect Able To Evade Police After Bank Robbery

armed robber who held up the Farmers Bank of Willards in West Ocean City last
Saturday morning remains at large this week after a “perfect storm” of
simultaneous incidents had area law enforcement agencies scrambling.

Shortly after 10 a.m.
last Saturday, an unidentified suspect wearing a garish wig and a baseball cap
on his head and a blue surgical mask over his face entered the Farmers Bank of
Willards along Route 50 in West Ocean City, brandished a handgun and demanded
money from a teller. The teller complied and the suspect fled the bank with an
undetermined amount of U.S. currency.

According to Worcester
County Bureau of Investigation (WCBI) Sgt. Harvey Brent, the suspect remained
at large as of yesterday and the investigation is ongoing. Brent said
investigators are relying on the public’s help to provide information about the
identity or whereabouts of the suspect, who robbed the bank at mid-morning on a
busy Saturday morning in August in a heavily congested area before making a
dash across Route 50 likely still wearing a wig and mask.

“He nearly got hit by a
car running across Route 50,” said Brent. “Somebody had to see something
unusual. They might think, well, they must already know that or have seen that,
but we’re encouraging anybody who might have seen something to contact us, even
if it seems insignificant.”

Complicating the
immediate search for the armed robbery suspect was a separate incident going on
at virtually the same time. While the suspect was robbing the bank at gunpoint
in West Ocean City, Worcester County Sheriff’s deputies and Maryland State
Police were en route to a reported incident of a suicidal individual at a
residence just south of Berlin with a gun to his head, according to Brent.

As a result, much of the
on-duty law enforcement resources last Saturday morning were responding to that
incident at the same time the bank was being robbed in West Ocean City.

“It really was a perfect
storm of sorts,” said Brent. “We had manpower and resources heading to the
suicidal situation in Berlin with a man reportedly holding a gun to his head,
which is a pretty big deal, when we get the call about the bank robbery, all on
a busy Saturday morning in August with everything that entails in terms of
traffic and other things going on.”

As a result, the Ocean
City Police Department was called to respond initially to the bank robbery in
West Ocean City as part of a mutual aid system between allied law enforcement
agencies. Spotted at a West Ocean City convenience store shortly after the
robbery occurred, Ocean City Councilwoman Mary Knight said the town’s elected
officials had been called to approve deploying the town’s police department in
West Ocean City as part of a normal protocol.

OCPD cruisers were
deployed at practically every intersection in West Ocean City as the search for
the armed robbery suspect commenced as Maryland State Police helicopters
circled overhead and police K-9 units combed the area during the bizarre
Saturday morning.

As of yesterday, the
suspect remained at large as the investigation continued. The suspect is
described as a white male, about 5’7” to 5’10” tall with a medium build. At the
time of the robbery, he was wearing a gray three-toned hooded jacket, jean
shorts just past knee length, and white tennis shoes. He was wearing a bushy
black wig and a blue and white baseball hat and a blue surgical mask over his
face. The suspect was armed with a dark in color semi-automatic handgun.

No one was injured
during the robbery. The investigation is ongoing and anyone who might have seen
something prior to or after the robbery is urged to contact WCBI at
410-352-3476, or the MSP Berlin barrack at 410-641-3101. The Farmers Bank of
Willards has offered a reward for information leading to the arrest and
conviction of the suspect.