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Posted March 20, 2013 | comments Leave a comment

Police recover most of money from bank robbery

By Joe Beck

Middletown police have recovered most of the money stolen in an armed robbery at the BB&T bank Tuesday.

Chief R. Philip Breeden said Wednesday the accused robber, Scott Alexander Wessells, 24, of 106 Ettawah Trail, Winchester, took $10,264, all but $92 of which was recovered at the scene of his arrest.

Strasburg police arrested Wessells at Signal Knob Stations condominiums after learning that a young man fitting the description of the robbery suspect had been spotted in that area.

Wessells appeared Wednesday in Frederick County General District Court where Judge David Whitacre ordered him held without bond in the Northwestern Regional Adult Detention Center.

The criminal complaint against Wessells states that he handed a note to a teller at the BB&T bank at 7800 Main St. in Middletown. The noted demanded all the money in the two drawers and stated that he was carrying a bomb, according to the complaint.

The complaint states that the teller turned over an unknown amount of cash to the suspect before he fled.

The initial tip leading police to Wessells came from Northern Virginia Daily photographer Rich Cooley. Cooley was on his way to the crime scene when he noticed a four-door Saab being driven suspiciously as it turned up Signal Knob Drive in Strasburg.

The criminal complaint states that police recovered the missing money from a blue bag that matched the description of a bag that Cooley said he had seen the suspect carrying when he had entered the apartment.

Breeden said Wednesday that police found Wessells shaving when they entered the apartment, which is occupied by a friend of his.

Breeden said police found no explosives.

"Right now, we have no reason to believe he was not acting alone," Breeden said of Wessells, adding, "we have no idea as to the actual motive of the robbery."

Court documents show Wessells listing no income or assets and stating that he has been unemployed since being laid off in January from an electrical contracting company in Florida.

Whitacre found him indigent and eligible for a court-appointed attorney, according to the documents.

Breeden said Wessells was charged with armed robbery for threatening the teller with an explosive device, although he had no such weapon with him.

"By indicating that he was in fact armed with an explosive device, he put the tellers in fear of their lives," Breeden said.

Breeden said a BB gun found in the Saab did not figure in the armed robbery charge.

"He didn't display the gun. He's not going to be charged with it," Breeden said.

Online court records show that Wessells pleaded guilty to five drug-related charges in Frederick County Circuit Court in 2010 and 2011 and faces a hearing today on probation revocation linked to earlier drug offenses.

Contact staff writer Joe Beck at 540-465-5137 ext. 142, or jbeck@nvdaily.com

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