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Digest

Robbery shows the need to give a good description

By Times Staff Writer
Published October 14, 2007


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ST. PETERSBURG

On Tuesday at 10:40 a.m., a man wearing a green goblin mask entered the Colonial Bank at 2646 Fourth St. N to rob the bank.

Moments earlier, a lawn maintenance man working outside had alerted one of the drive-in tellers when he saw the man "mask up" before entering the bank. The teller activated a silent alarm just as the suspect threatened bank employees with a "James Bond" style gun.

One teller gave cash to the suspect, along with a red dye pack. The suspect ran out of the bank and toward the alley at the back of the building.

Police received the alarm and dispatched officers, simultaneously calling the bank to confirm the robbery. An excited bank employee said the suspect was a black male who was wearing jeans and a blue shirt with red stripes.

Dispatcher Kim Bowser radioed the description to the officers. Several set up a perimeter and began searching, while canine Officer Chris Ladd went to the bank. Ladd and Shaman, his four-legged partner, tracked the suspect's scent about two blocks, finding him hiding in bushes. But the man was white, not black as reported. The incorrect description could have presented the officer with a dangerous moment of indecision. But Ladd trusted Shaman's tracking instincts, and moments later, saw red dye on the suspect's clothing and hands, found his weapon, which was a replica gun, and recovered all of the money.

He arrested the man for armed bank robbery. He is suspected in another recent robbery.

The incident highlights the need to provide the best possible descriptions of suspects to the police. There won't always be a Shaman around to set things right.

William Proffitt, St. Petersburg Police spokesman

[Last modified October 14, 2007, 01:51:56]


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