Laurel police say recent bank robberies a fluke, not a fad -- Gazette.Net


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Despite two robberies in a three-month span, Laurel city police say a bank on Main Street is not being targeted by criminals.

The PNC bank on Main Street was robbed shortly before Christmas by a man wearing a long, white beard, and then again shortly after Valentine’s Day. Both men were arrested and the money was returned, police said.

The PNC on Main Street is located in a busy commercial district with other banks in the area and Laurel Police Chief Rich McLaughlin said there is no apparent reason the same bank was targeted twice in such a short span of time and no connection between the two robberies.

“Main Street is a heavily traveled road. It’s a temptation,” he said. “But I don’t think [the PNC] is any more prone [to security threats] than any of the other banks.”

McLaughlin said crime has not increased on or around Main Street, but has remained at status quo.

“It’s a rarity and I think it’s just coincidental the bank got hit twice in that time frame.”

The last time Laurel police responded to an incident at the Main Street PNC was in March of 2012 for an attempted robbery, McLaughlin said. The BB&T Bank located a few doors down from the PNC has had one robbery and one attempt in the past three years, McLaughlin said.

The PNC on Main Street has a silent alarm that connects to the Laurel Police dispatcher’s office, and it was this alarm that was tripped during the most recent PNC robbery on Feb. 19, McLaughlin said. He said the area is generally patrolled often and that the Laurel police force is not making dramatic security changes in response to the two incidents.

“I have police officers up and down that road all the time, every day,” McLaughlin said. “We’ve also had discussions with the bank [about security]. We’ve made suggestions and they have made suggestions.”

Despite police assurances that the two robberies do not indicate a trend and that police are monitoring the area, some PNC customers said the incidents make them nervous.

“I don’t know what it is about this place,” said PNC customer Jared Purkey, 26, of Laurel. “If they keep getting robbed, it makes me worry about my money.”

PNC spokesman Fred Solomon said the security of customers and employees is the company’s first priority, but declined to comment on specific incidents or on security measures at PNC locations.

eeastman@gazette.net