FBI: Robber pistol-whips, robs Chase Bank employees before branch opens

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by Scott Noll / KHOU 11 News

khou.com

Posted on June 4, 2013 at 1:10 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jun 4 at 5:04 PM

HOUSTON - The hunt is on for a violent bank robber who sent two Chase Bank workers to the hospital Tuesday morning.

It all began even before the bank in the 4100 block of FM 1960 opened its doors to customers. Instead, many arrived to find a sign on the doors saying the bank was closed due to an emergency.

But investigators say that hardly describes the terror that happened inside just after 6:30am.

“The individual was verbally aggressive, physically aggressive,” explained Agent Shauna Dunlap with the Houston office of the FBI. “Fired gunshots, several gunshots not just one, into a wall of the bank and as well physically assaulted the tellers in this commission of this robbery.”

For security reasons, investigators wouldn’t say how the man, armed with a pistol, got inside the bank before it opened.

They say the two workers, who were preparing to open the bank for business, were threatened, and attacked by the robber.

Investigators say one of the workers was pistol-whipped by the robber.

The unknown man then grabbed cash and slipped out of the bank through a back door.

Both workers, who were not identified, were taken to the hospital.

Customers who arrived to find the doors locked, and detectives inside, were shocked to hear what happened.

“I’m upset about it,” said longtime bank customer Lewis Bellis. “I’m sorry that someone is hurt.”

“Got to watch out where you’re going,” said Dan Pavely, another customer. “Beware of your surroundings all the time. You never know what’s going to happen.”

The FBI says it’s reviewing surveillance video from inside of the bank, hoping to get a good description of the robber.

However, investigators say his face was at least partially covered during the attack.

Agents are also looking into reports of a number of suspicious vehicles seen in the area around the time of this morning’s robbery. Anyone with information about the case is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 713-222-TIPS. A reward of up to $5,000 is being offered for information leading to an arrest.

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