LEWISTOWN - Several Pennsylvania State Police troopers from the Lewistown and Selinsgrove barracks, along with agents from the FBI field office in State College are working around the clock to capture the man behind string of recent bank robberies.
Those law enforcement officials directly involved in the investigation said they are convinced the same person is behind at least three bank robberies in the past month, and one attempted robbery.
A white Ford Escort that was stolen in the early morning hours of Oct. 27 in Lewistown and was believed to have been the getaway car in two of the robberies was recently recovered in the area of the Arch Rock Road near the U.S. 322 interchange in Juniata County, police said.
This video still is taken from Sheetz surveillance footage which shows the suspect on the day he allegedly stole a gold Plymouth Neon from the parking lot.
Trooper Michael Elder said the car has been processed for DNA evidence and fingerprints and everything has been sent to a crime lab.
"I find it odd he held on to the car for an entire week knowing it had to have been reported stolen," Elder said.
Elder said the suspect was seen at around 4:30 p.m. on Nov. 5, getting into a maroon Ford extended cab pickup truck, which was described by witness as being very clean with chrome wheels.
"This guy isn't working alone," Elder said.
Earlier that morning the thin white male suspect attempted to enter a bank in McClure but the tellers inside locked the door as they saw the man approach, police said.
Shortly thereafter, a man SUSPECTpolice said they believe is the same suspect entered the Swineford National Bank around 9:15 a.m. and demanded money.
Elder said the robber made no threats and displayed no weapon, a scenario that played out during all the recent robberies credited to this particular suspect. He was wearing a camouflage zip up jacket, different from one used during the first robbery on Oct. 22 in Thompsontown, police said.
The Thompsontown robbery at First National Bank occurred at around 3:30 p.m. on Oct. 22, police said. The suspect was described as the same thin white male described in the other robberies and he was wearing a camo zip up jacket and white mask that covered the bottom portion of his face. He was wearing gloves, sneakers and blue jeans, police said.
Elder said the suspect left the bank and headed east.
The second robbery occurred at 8:30 a.m. on Oct. 27 at the Juniata Valley Bank along Market Street in Port Royal and the same above suspect was described, police said. This time the robber wore a Pittsburgh Steelers sweatshirt, green pull-over cap, black gloves and his face was covered with women's stretch pants, police said.
In both the Thompsontown and Port Royal robberies, the suspect ordered the women to the back of the bank and they complied, police said.
Elder said one teller in Thompsontown described the robber as very demanding and the teller also got the impression this was not the first time he robbed a bank.
Trooper Richard Leight said a gold Plymouth Neon stolen from Sheetz in Lewistown may have been taken by the same person who committed the robberies. The car was recently recovered in Massachusetts, police said.
A bulletin went out from the Lewistown Police Department shortly after the Neon was taken because officers were concerned it may be used in another robbery, police said.
Elder said the robberies seem to be taking place approximately every week and the suspect is someone obviously familiar with the area.
Trooper Blaine Henderson said police have been running down leads and looking at potential suspects.
"The suspect list is long and distinguished," Elder said.
The amount of money taken from the robberies has not been disclosed at this time.
Crime Stoppers is offering a reward for information leading to the arrest and prosecution of the suspect(s) involved in these robberies. They can be reached at (800) 4PA-TIPS.
Anyone with information about any of the robberies is asked to call a Lewistown at 320-1010.