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Bank in Bel Air's Harford Mall held up Friday

TheftLos Angeles International AirportMaryland Transit AdministrationLiberty BankMaryland State Police

A single robber with a handgun held up the Liberty Bank branch inside Bel Air's Harford Mall Friday morning.

The Bel Air Police Department said Saturday that a white male, in his late 40s or early 50s, walked into the branch at approximately 9:30 a.m. Friday morning, showed a "small frame black revolver" and "demanded cash."

As shown by surveillance photos released by the police, the robber wore a brown camouflage baseball cap with a green camouflage bandanna under it, a black, long sleeved pullover shirt with white stripes running down each sleeve, blue jeans and black shoes.

The robber escaped on foot toward Baltimore Pike (Route 1), police said in a news release.

No injuries were reported. Police did not say what was taken.

BAPD Detective Sgt. Jim Lockard said his department was assisted at the scene by Harford County Sheriff's Office deputies and Maryland State Police troopers.

Lockard said via e-mail that two vacant homes in the area were checked for possible suspects, none were found.

"No SWAT team was used," he wrote. "Patrol officers from the three agencies handled checking the buildings."

The bank is near one of the Baltimore Pike entrances to the mall. Friday's robbery occurred within the first half hour of the bank being open but before most of the stores in the mall open for business at 10 a.m.

"I opened at 10 [a.m.] and just came into everything taped off," Kenny Reid, manager of the LAX World store directly across the corridor from the bank branch, said Saturday afternoon, as shoppers strolled through the courtyards, taking in the various shops and restaurants.

Reid said the bank opened as usual Saturday morning and closed at its normal time of noon.

He and Nate Welsh, the assistant manager for LAX World, were surprised anyone had committed a bank robbery in a high-profile area such as the mall, covered by security cameras and where Bel Air police officers visit regularly.

Security guards also patrol the mall, and store employees can detain people suspected of shoplifting, he noted.

Welsh said LAX World staff have closed their gate to prevent a suspected shoplifter from leaving until police and security personnel arrive.

"It was just a pair of socks, but you know, principle," Reid said.

The bank, however, does not have a security gate, only glass doors like are found at most bank entrances.

James Wallace, a service and repair technician at the Sprint mobile phone kiosk in the mall, said he was clocking in at the time of the robbery.

He said he did not hear any commotion, but a police officer came by to ask him if he had seen the suspect.

"As I'm clocking in, that's when an officer approached me and asked me if I had seen a guy with a camouflage bandanna over his head," Wallace said.

He said Bel Air officers, sheriff's deputies and state troopers could be seen near the crime scene for about 90 minutes after the robbery.

Wallace said the mall went "back to business" after police left.

"Everything's fine . . . it's already died down, washed over," he added.

Anyone with information about the robbery is asked to contact Det. Mark Zulauf at 410-638-4500 or at mzulauf@belairmd.org, or Det. Sgt. Jim Lockard at 410-638-4500 or jlockard@belairmd.org.

Tips can also be provided to Harford County Crime Solvers at 1-888-540-8477, or Metro Crime Stoppers of Maryland at 1-866-756-2587.

Friday's robbery was the second bank holdup inside the Bel Air town limits since June. The Harford Bank branch in the 500 block of South Main Street was held up by a man who implied he had a weapon on June 5. No arrests have been made.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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