Police Make Quick Arrests after Armed Bank Robbery

Suspects Also Being Considered in Regional Robberies

LA PLATA, Md. (Aug. 4, 2010)—Just a few hours after an armed man robbed a La Plata bank on Friday, July 30, the Charles County Sheriff’s Office had the robber and his getaway driver in custody, Sheriff Rex Coffey announced.

Officers responded to the PNC Bank located at 6315 Crain Highway in La Plata at 10:36 a.m. after simultaneously receiving an alarm from the bank and 911 calls from witnesses. The officers arrived on the scene within minutes but the robber had already fled the scene.

The initial investigation revealed the robber entered the bank and asked to speak with the manager. He brandished a handgun and demanded access to the bank vault. The manager complied and the robber then corralled the bank’s six employees and five customers into the vault and locked them inside while he removed money from the vault and then from the tellers’ cash registers. He fled the scene on foot toward Hawthorne Drive.

While officers and detectives interviewed witnesses on the scene, others canvassed the area for the suspect. During the search, an officer discovered a Ford Explorer parked on Magnolia Drive a short distance from the bank. Other officers — including Sheriff Coffey — responded to the area and approached the Explorer, which was occupied by a male driver. When the officers asked the driver to exit the Explorer, they observed a handgun on the floorboard. The driver was immediately arrested for possessing the handgun. Detectives believe he was acting as the getaway driver in the bank robbery but that officers found him before the robber could reach the vehicle.

Meanwhile, officers on the scene had obtained a detailed description of the robber, including that he was missing a tooth, had pockmarks on his face and was wearing blue coveralls bearing the markings of a United States Postal worker. At 12:29 p.m., a citizen called and said she found the coveralls in her yard on Pine Street in La Plata, which is also near the bank. Officers responded and a K9 team began a track that headed north. At 1 p.m., a detective canvassing the area in his vehicle observed a man standing on Route 301 near Parkway Subdivision Road, just a few miles from the bank. At a distance, the man matched the basic description of the robber so the detective approached him and engaged him in a conversation. Upon closer inspection, the detective discovered the man shared the more detailed features of the bank robber, including having the missing tooth and pockmarks described by witnesses. Realizing the man was the bank robber, the detective immediately placed him in custody.

“Simply put, this is an example of outstanding police work that serves as the hallmark of the Charles County Sheriff’s Office,” said Sheriff Coffey. “These guys thought they could get away with another bank robbery — but not in Charles County. It is unfortunate that the victims in this crime had to suffer this experience but we are thankful they managed to be so observant under such duress. With their invaluable help our relentless search resulted in a very quick apprehension.”

Detectives identified the robber as Carlton Francis Harris, 49, and the getaway driver as Mario Bruce Myers, 57, both of whom are residents of Washington, D.C. Harris has been charged with armed robbery and Myers has been charged with the handgun violation. They are being held at the Charles County Detention Center pending appearances before a district court commissioner.

FBI agents also responded to the scene. They believe the pair may be linked to a half-dozen or so other bank robberies throughout the region that have occurred since September, when Harris was released from jail after serving time for another bank robbery. This robbery does not appear to be linked to the robberies committed by the man known as “Fast Cash.”

Source: Charles County Sheriff's Office

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