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FBI arrests suspect in 20 East Coast bank robberies, including September heist in Catonsville

TheftFBILong IslandHSBC Holdings plcPNC Financial Services Group Incorporated

A bank robbery suspect from South Florida was arrested by FBI agents after a string of approximately 20 heists along the Eastern Seaboard that included the September robbery of a PNC Bank in Catonsville, authorities announced Tuesday.

Officials said Luis A. Alomar, 37, was arrested about 2:30 a.m. Tuesday in the Long Island suburb of Medford, N.Y. He was being held on state and federal charges in connection with the robberies, which began in August.

Agents said Alomar used firearms or threatening notes to carry out the crimes. They also said the short, stocky and bald suspect wore a "heavy puffy jacket" or a large brown cowboy hat to hide his appearance during the robberies.

A wanted notice from the Catonsville heist in September shows surveillance photos of a suspect in a black jacket and a green baseball cap; it says the suspect walked into the bank the afternoon of Sept. 23 and gave a note to the teller demanding money and threatened to shoot the teller.

FBI officials in New York said they were still sorting out which jurisdiction would prosecute Alomar, and he was not immediately taken before a judge to enter a plea.

According to a federal complaint in Wilmington, Del., FBI Agent Scott Austin Duffey said Alomar robbed the HSBC Bank there on Sept. 16, getting about $74,000 after threatening a teller, taking cash from her drawer and seizing bundles of money from the bank vault.

"I HAVE A FULLY LOADED HANDGUN!!" Alomar demanded in his note, according to the complaint. "THIS IS A ROBBERY. YOU WILL ... DIE WITH A BLINK OF AN EYE ... 100s 50s 20s FROM BOTH DRAWERS."

Law enforcement officials said he threatened the female teller, telling her, "I'll blow your head off." After gaining access to the vault, he forced the teller to remove her shirt so he could use it to conceal the large bags of money as he fled.

In the complaint, Duffey said that the Wilmington robbery "fit a pattern" of thefts from banks in Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Maryland and Florida, and that surveillance photos matched Alomar's description.

Baltimore Sun staff reporter Colin Campbell contributed to this article.

cmcampbell@baltsun.com

twitter.com/cmcampbell6

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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TheftFBILong IslandHSBC Holdings plcPNC Financial Services Group Incorporated
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