POTTSTOWN PA – Although it’s a case being handled by the Pottstown Police Department and, now, agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, a Saturday morning (May 31, 2014) attempted armed robbery of the Wells Fargo Bank branch office at 1470 E. High St. cast Lower Pottsgrove police in a supporting role.
Members of the township department enforced a barricade across the south entrance to the bank parking lot, off Sunset Drive, as Pottstown investigated the 9:15 a.m. attack by a suspect who allegedly fired pistol shots into the bank ceiling and at the inches-thick bulletproof glass divider that separated tellers from the public inside.
No one was injured, police said. The suspected robber – described as a black male between the ages of 20 and 30, standing about 6 feet tall and weighing about 200 pounds – is said to have fled without a penny for his effort. He’s being considered “armed and dangerous” by the FBI, its press release said, and as of Monday morning (June 2) remained at large.
Few details have been released about the course of events after the suspect allegedly brandished a .38 caliber semi-automatic handgun inside the bank, made verbal threats, demanded money, and shot overhead and elsewhere. Police initially indicated they believe he escaped on foot, headed west toward downtown.
Still photos supplied by the FBI from the robbery scene surveillance video show the suspect, wearing a Phillies cap, entered through the bank parking lot’s west door. Other photos show him with what appears to be a gun in his right hand, waving it at the teller window.
Canine units from outside Pottstown were called in to assist with the investigation, which caused East High to be blocked for several hours from Moser Road east to Beech Street. At least one dog and a handler were seen during the morning walking back and forth on Moser Road from East High, searching for some trace of the robber.
Meanwhile, despite the disruption, much of the daily life in surrounding portions of the area beyond the barricades continued as though little had happened. A Sunset Street car wash just west of the bank parking lot hummed with business in the bright sun, its towel-wielding employees seemingly oblivious to the commotion next door. Onlookers gawked at the police activity from the Wawa store parking lot to the east, then went inside to buy coffee.
There was no immediate indication from Wells Fargo as to whether the branch would be open for business Monday, although its employees were allowed back into the building about two hours after the incident occurred.
Police are appealing to the public for assistance in the investigation. Any information about the robbery or the suspect is being asked to call Pottstown police at 610-970-6570 or the Philadelphia office of the FBI at 215-641-8910.