By Mark E. Vogler
---- — LAWRENCE — For the second time in less than a week, a masked and hooded man brandishing a hand gun walked into the TD Bank branch at 305 S. Broadway and ran out with a bag full of cash.
“We believe the man who robbed the bank today is the same man who robbed the bank on Thursday,” Lawrence Police Chief John Romero said last night.
“Also, we believe we may be dealing with a person with a high level of desperation, perhaps someone who may have a substance abuse problem. He also may be from the area,” the chief said.
Lawrence police are seeking the public’s help in identifying the suspect, who was photographed in both robberies by the bank’s surveillance camera.
“On last Thursday, before robbing the bank, he attracted attention to himself by squatting in front of the bank and appearing distraught, so much so, people going into the bank and people in the street were asking him if he was OK. The fact that he returned six days later and robbed the same bank causes us some serious concern,” Romero said.
Meanwhile, police will increase patrols around banks in the city until the suspect has been captured.
“We’re hoping that after seeing the surveillance pictures or reading the story, someone will be able to provide information that may help us identify the perpetrator,” Romero said.
Yesterday’s robbery happened around 4 p.m. Police described the suspect as as 5-feet, 5-inches tall and wearing “a very baggy gray full zip hooded sweatshirt,” Detective Alan N. Andrews wrote in his report.
“Surveillance video confirmed the suspect’s description and clothing similarities to the suspect of the previous robbery,” Andrews said.
In that robbery, a man with a gun got away with an undetermined amount of cash after holding up that branch March 28 around 5:20 p.m.
Police say the man put on a mask covering the lower half of his face, walked into the lobby and pulled out a small handgun. He told the patrons not to move, and pushed a couple of them out of the way as he approached the teller’s counter.
He handed the teller a bag and demanded money. After the teller put an unknown amount of money in the bag, the robber walked out of the building.
Romero said witnesses described that suspect as a man about 5-feet, 6-inches tall and weighing about 150 pounds. He spoke in broken English.
In yesterday’s heist, the suspect stepped up to the teller counter brandishing a black and silver handgun, placed a small gray plastic bag on the counter and demanded “give me all your money,” according to Detective Andrews.
One teller asked “are you kidding,” prompting the suspect to say ‘do I look like I am (expletive) kidding?” Two tellers emptied their cash draws into the plastic bag and the suspect fled, Andrews wrote in his report.