Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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July 9, 2014

Bank robber still at large in Mercer County — manhunt continues

PRINCETON — Deputies, state troopers and other law enforcement officials were still searching Wednesday morning for a suspect in the armed robbery of a Princeton bank.

Deputies, state troopers, and K-9 dog handlers launched the search Tuesday at 1:35 p.m. after  for a male suspect robbed City National Bank at the East River Plaza off of Greasy Ridge Road, near the local Wal-Mart. The armed robbery occurred at approximately 1:35 p.m.

A white male wearing a dark green, long-sleeve shirt with yellow letters, carrying a blue backpack and wearing a camouflaged mask entered the bank through its front doors, said Detective Cpl. S.A. Sommers of the Mercer County Sheriff’s Department. Detective W.E. Rose is the lead investigator.

The suspect pulled out a semi-automatic handgun of unknown caliber and demanded money from a teller, Sommers said. The teller put money in the backpack, and the suspect fled across the shopping center’s parking lot, jumped a fence, and fled into nearby woods.

There was no evidence that another person or a vehicle was involved, Sommers said. The possibility of a getaway vehicle had not been dismissed, but there was no evidence as of Tuesday proving that one way or the other.

No injuries were reported. A substantial amount of money was stolen.

K-9 units with Mercer County Sheriff’s Department and West Virginia State Police Princeton detachment searched the area along U.S. Route 460, nearby Hilltop Drive and the Industrial Park Road area. The American National University campus was temporarily on lockdown at the request of the law enforcement agencies, but reopened about an hour later. The bank’s lobby and drive-through windows closed after the robbery.

Investigators are reviewing surveillance videos from the bank and surrounding businesses, Sommers said.

Customers who arrived at the bank soon after the robbery at first did not know why the bank was closed. One man who drove up in a pickup truck was surprised.

“Glad I wasn’t here!” he said before driving away.

Another customer had hoped to do some business knew about the incident.

“I heard they got robbed,” said Kelly Lilly, 66, of Princeton. “That’s awful. People are getting mean as a snake.”

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