Robbers hit three Baltimore branches of beleaguered Allfirst Financial Inc.


As Allfirst Financial Inc. reels from a $750 million currency trading loss, three of its Baltimore bank branches were hit by robbers yesterday - including one where officials say the thieves cleaned out the vault.

The robberies appear to be unrelated, the FBI said.

The first and largest robbery occurred just as bank employees were preparing to open the branch at 25th Street and Kirk Avenue about 8:40 a.m. Two men herded the employees into the vault at gunpoint and robbed the safe, officials said. They then forced one employee to turn over the keys to a green Toyota Corolla, which was found about a quarter-mile away.

Special Agent Peter A. Gulotta with the FBI's Baltimore division said the amount of money taken was "way above average" and called the incident a "takeover."

"They got everything out of the safe," Gulotta said.

The two other robberies were smaller. A teller at the branch at 3401 Eastern Ave. in Highlandtown was handed a note demanding money at 10:20 a.m. The person involved in that is also wanted in connection with previous bank robberies near Monument Street.

Three minutes later, a different man robbed a teller at the branch at 3717 Old Court Road in Pikesville. The man is believed to be responsible for two previous bank robberies in that area. A teller at a Provident Bank branch on that road was also robbed yesterday.

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