Bank robbery suspect sought

By Joe Beck

Winchester police are searching for an armed robber who fled from the United Bank at 2252 Valley Avenue just before 1 p.m. Thursday.

Police described the suspect as a man in his 20s, around 5 feet 10 inches tall and 180 pounds.

He was wearing khaki pants, a gray fleece jacket, a white hat and a white handkerchief covering his face, according to a police department news release issued by community specialist Lauren Cummings.

Police said the suspect walked into the bank, displayed a gun and demanded money. He left the building with an undisclosed amount of cash and was last seen fleeing east on foot.

Police said a department tracking dog followed a scent behind Wards Plaza to Hope Drive where the track ended.

There were four employees in the bank during the robbery, none of whom were injured, police said.

The robbery was the third at a United Bank branch in or near Winchester in the last three months. Two of the robberies were committed at 199 Front Royal Pike. Authorities believe the same man committed both of the earlier robberies.

Asked if Thursday’s robbery may have any connection with those on Front Royal Pike, Cummings said: “I would say the descriptions of the suspects are very different, and that the case is still under investigation.”

A total of at least eight robberies have been committed at United Banks in the Winchester area since 2009. Five of them were committed at a branch on Berryville Avenue that has since closed.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Crime Solvers Hotline at 540-665-TIPS.