3rd bank robbed, authorities looking for couple

Published 12:00 am Thursday, March 18, 2010

For the third time in as many weeks, law enforcement agencies across Alabama are searching for a bank-robbing couple.

Just before noon Wednesday a couple robbed the East Brewton branch of BankTrust without weapons and making a getaway with an undisclosed amount of cash, officials said. Officials are investigating whether the case is related to two similar robberies in Florala and Flomaton in the past two weeks.

East Brewton Police Chief Kenny Brazile said the couple entered the bank wearing dark, hooded sweatshirts and presented a note to a teller demanding money.

“A white female and white male wearing brown hooded shirts or jackets,” Brazile said. “They passed a note to one teller asking for money, basically in small bills. They did not show any weapons during the robbery.”

Brazile said witnesses said the couple fled the bank and were able to get away in a vehicle waiting behind the bank.

“They were seen leaving in an older model tan or champagne colored Sunfire or Sunbird car with a spoiler on the back,” Brazile said. “The car also had a Florida tag.”

Brazile said a witness, who was not in the bank at the time of the robbery, witnessed the couple getting into the car and leaving the scene.

“The witness followed the vehicle for a few miles south,” Brazile said. “She followed them a couple of miles outside of the city limits down to about the Jay Road.”

Debbie Hardee, security officer for BankTrust, said the teller who was given the note by the robbers acted according to training.

“The couple approached one teller at about 10 minutes ’til 12,” Hardee said. “The teller was not hurt, and she acted perfectly in the situation according to training.”

Hardee said surveillance is in place at the branch location.

Brazile said the investigation into the incident is continuing with assistance from the Escambia County Sheriff’s Department and FBI officials.

Two other banks recently were robbed under similar circumstances. A male and female couple reportedly robbed a Florala bank two weeks ago and the Flomaton branch of United Bank was robbed last week by a male-female duo.

“We can’t say for sure if this robbery is connected with other recent robberies,” Brazile said. “They have the same M.O. and some of the same descriptions. It appears similar but we can’t say for sure about any connections at this point.”

Brazile said the K-9 units from Century Correctional Facility were originally summoned to the East Brewton location, however their assistance was not used at the bank.

“At first we didn’t realize that the suspects had fled in an automobile,” Brazile said. “We called in the K-9 unit as a precaution thinking they may have still been in the area. We had them on standby for that purpose. When we realized they had fled in an automobile, we didn’t have to use them.”

Brazile said the search would continue for the pair.

“Hopefully we can end it today (Wednesday),” Brazile said. “We will continue our search.”

Officials with FBI were on the scene within an hour of the robbery but would not comment on the case.