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Alleged Sanatoga Robbers Identified; Face 180 Counts

SANATOGA PA – Three men who allegedly robbed a Sanatoga bank Wednesday (June 19, 2013), in broad daylight and armed with guns, and then were arrested after a lengthy chase, have been publicly identified and arraigned, and will face a preliminary hearing July 11 in the village courtroom of Magisterial District Judge Edward Kropp Sr.

Court records indicate the three are Ishaq Ibrahim, 27, of Philadelphia; James A. Byrd, 25, also of Philadelphia; and Kelani Laird, 31, whose address was not given.

Collectively they face more than 180 counts of charges that include robbery, assault, theft, reckless endangerment and conspiracy, following what police allege was their participation in an afternoon robbery of the Sunnybrook branch of National Penn Bank, 1830 E. High St. They escaped a potential police capture there by only minutes, but later were caught about 20 miles east in Lower Merion Township.

Lower Pottsgrove police said two men entered the bank, brandished handguns, and took money from behind a counter and from at least one depositor. They then ran outside to a waiting car driven by a third man and sped off east down U.S. Route 422. They were spotted by an off-duty officer, who trailed them and alerted other squads. With police closing in, the three then were said to have abandoned the car to flee on foot. They didn’t get far.

Neither, for awhile at least, did a Lower Pottsgrove Township commissioner who said he was blocked in traffic Wednesday outside Villanova, where some of the chase action occurred.

Commissioner Stephen Klotz chuckled Thursday night, at the end of the Board of Commissioners’ meeting in the Sanatoga municipal building, as he recounted how he was traveling through Lower Merion on business when his car and others were “suddenly surrounded” by police vehicles near Villanova University.

He hadn’t listened to news on the radio, Klotz noted, and so was unaware of the robbery that occurred only a short time before. “I had to roll down my window and ask what was going on. They said they were after somebody who robbed a bank in Lower Pottsgrove. Home.,” he added with a grin.

On Thursday morning, before going back to work, Klotz said he stopped by the township police station and congratulated the force. “I’m told we had 21 officers outside that bank within two minutes of getting a call. That’s fast. Too often we take our police for granted. Our guys did a fine job on this, and we need to thank them for it.”

Each of the three suspects reportedly is being held in jail in lieu of $1 million cash bail.


Related (to the Lower Pottsgrove Board of Commissioners’ June 20 meeting):

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