WSBT-TV Photo

WSBT-TV Photo

SOUTH BEND — Today was a rough day for the employees of the 1st Source Bank at Mishawaka Avenue and 26th Street.

Police were first dispatched to the River Park bank at 9:15 a.m. on the report of a robbery, and officers stopped two men just minutes after they fled from the scene. The suspects were quickly identified as the robbers, police said, and were taken to the St. Joseph County Jail.

Four hours later, police were at the bank again on a report of a second robbery.

Capt. Phil Trent, with South Bend Police Department, said this afternoon that investigators were still searching a perimeter around the bank for the second robber. A K-9 unit patrolled the area as FBI agents and South Bend police questioned bank employees about the incident.

"We’ve got our second bank robbery in a day here," he said. "Unfortunately, we have yet to make an apprehension. .... We made two quick apprehensions this morning."

Police do not believe the two incidents to be related, Trent said, but the bank has been robbed in the past.

"There are other places that are very, very infrequently robbed," Trent said. "This place has been hit numerous times."

Lt. Scott Hanley, with the South Bend Police Department, said robbers might target the bank because the surrounding neighborhood provides for an easy escape. The bank is in the middle of constant foot and car traffic, Hanley said, so a robber can blend into the area after fleeing the scene.

"It’s easy to disappear into the neighborhood," he said.

In the morning robbery, the two suspects approached a counter at the bank, police said. One asked for money and passed a note under the window before the teller handed him the cash he demanded. The two men then left the scene, but patrol officers caught them almost immediately as they ran down the 700 block of 27th Street.

Trent said one suspect had a "considerable" amount of cash in his front pocket and was armed with a knife. The other suspect was unarmed. Witnesses told police the two men were acting suspicious in the area throughout the morning, police said.

As the police compiled their reports on the first robbery, another robber approached the counter just after 1 p.m.

Trent said the suspect was a black male about 5-feet 10-inches tall with an average build. The man wore black pants, black and white tennis shoes, a black medium-sleeved shirt and a dark blue bandanna. Police believe he carried a handgun at the time of the robbery.

A representative of 1st Source Bank could not be reached for comment.

Mishawaka resident Doyle Vanderburg snapped photographs of police as they congregated outside the bank this morning. Vanderburg said he has banked with 1st Source for more than 40 years.

"I know (my money is) insured, but just the thought that this one has been robbed so many times ... it just seems like the bad guy is a step ahead," Vanderburg said. "I bet there’s not a bank in South Bend and Mishawaka that has been robbed as much."

Staff writer Megan Doyle:
mdoyle@sbtinfo.com