Police continue search for man who robbed Bel Air bank Wednesday

The Bel Air branch of Harford Bank was robbed Wednesday morning, Bel Air Police said, prompting a search for the robber and a lockdown of nearby schools, but so far the robber remains at large.

The suspect had not been caught as of Thursday afternoon, and the Bel Air Police Department is seeking the public’s help as the investigation continues.

Investigators had vetted most tips that came in, “but we’re still working on some additional ones,” Detective Cpl. Matthew Gullion, the BAPD’s lead investigator of the robbery, said.

“We’re seeking the assistance of the public, to help us out, to continue giving us tips,” Gullion said.

The robber “may not be as local as we initially thought he was,” Gullion said Thursday.

“All the information obtained at this point leads us to believe he is probably not local,” Gullion said. “We need to expand our search beyond Bel Air and Harford County.”

The department released a video of the robbery Thursday afternoon. Earlier in the day, officers were out in the community, where Gullion said they spoke with at least 100 people and handed out flyers.

Four schools — Bel Air Elementary, Middle and High and Homestead-Wakefield Elementary — were on modified lockdown, which was lifted, but later put back in place when police found a bike believed to be the one the robber used, Jillian Lader, director of communications for Harford County Public Schools, said.

The school system reported at 12:10 p.m. Wednesday that the lockdown had been lifted a second time.

The robber is described as a black man, about 6 feet tall and about 165 pounds. He was wearing a red shirt and white pants, a white baseball cap, white shoes and sunglasses.

No one was injured in the robbery, police said.

Gullion said he cannot “speculate or release what, if anything,” the man took in the robbery, citing the ongoing investigation.

The robber entered the bank in the 500 block of South Main Street at about 9:25 a.m. Wednesday, pulled a firearm out of his black backpack, pointed it at the tellers and demanded money, according to police.

Police believe the robber left on foot, heading north from the bank branch, Gullion said Thursday afternoon.

The department had reported on its Facebook page that the man left on a bike with silver handlebars. Police found the bike a short time later, police Chief Charles Moore said.

Police believed the robber was in the nearby Homestead Village community, Moore said. A Maryland State Police helicopter assisted in the search. Moore said it’s possible the man got in a car or was in the woods nearby.

The incident prompted a quick response from multiple police agencies, according to Gullion. He said the robbery was reported to 911 at 9:27 a.m., and the first officers arrived one minute later. Investigators arrived at 9:33 a.m.

The robber got away despite assistance from other agencies such as the Maryland State Police, Harford County Sheriff’s Office and Maryland Natural Resources Police. Gullion said the Harford County Courthouse, Sheriff’s Office headquarters and county government office building are all in downtown Bel Air, not far from the bank branch.

“It went very, very quickly, so we had a really good response,” he said.

He said such a response is “very helpful,” as a heavy police presence can prevent the continuation of a crime and help restrict the movements of a suspect.

“On this one, we didn’t see [the robber] at the scene,” Gullion said.

Bel Air Police are working with allied partners on their investigation, such as the FBI, since a bank was involved. Anyone who has information should call Gullion at 410-638-4522 or email mgullion@belairmd.org.

Gullion encouraged people to study the still images of the robber posted on the Bel Air Police Department Facebook page. Those in businesses or residences around the bank should check their security camera footage and notify the police if they see anything that would help the investigation, according to Gullion.

“If any information is available, as little as it may be, please contact us so we can check out those tips,” he said.

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