E'town bank robber identified
Jan 18, 2013 (Menafn - Bladen Journal - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --ELIZABETHTOWN --Elizabethtown Police have identified the man responsible for the Friday morning bank robbery at First Citizens Bank on West Broad Street near downtown Elizabethtown.
According to Police Chief Bobby Kinlaw, the robber has been identified as Aaron Montrese McDowell, 27, of White Oak.
"Officers have spent the afternoon searching for him," Kinlaw siad. "A search warrant was executed by Elizabethtown police officers and Bladen County Sheriff's deputies at his last known address, but he was not found there."
Kinlaw added that, once found, McDowell will be charged with armed robbery.
Area law enforcement officers received a call about the robbery at about 9:23 a.m. Friday, and investigators think he may also have called in a bomb threat to a local school.
"There were no customers in the bank at the time," Kinlaw added, "and nobody was hurt."
He said McDowell approached a teller and gave her a note. He could not say what the note had on it, but said that the weapon was displayed at that time. McDowell reportedly got away with "an undisclosed amount of money," Kinlaw siad.
"The bank was closed while we processed the scene," Kinlaw said, "and both the SBI and FBI have been notified. We also received some help immediately after the incident from the (Bladen County) Sheriff's Office."
Kinlaw said Elizabethtown Primary School had a bomb threat called in shortly before the bank was robbed, and the school was evacuated to the Elizabethtown National Guard Armory on Swanzy Street. Both the school and the Armory were put on lockdown.
"We received the call about the bomb threat at 9:07," Kinlaw said. "We can't verify that the two incidents are connected, but it seems awfully coincidental and we are investigating as if they are."
Valerie Newton, public information officer for Bladen County Schools, said an evacuation process was activated immediately at the school and all 556 students and 86 staff were moved by school buses to the National Guard Armory.
" An Alert Now message was sent by the school principal to all Elizabethtown Primary parents notifying them of the situation," Newton said. "The Bladen County Sheriff's Office, along with the Cumberland County Sheriff's Department bomb dog search team, searched the school campus and all school buildings. The school was found to be safe and free of any bomb."
Newton said the Bladen County Sheriff's Office released the school back to school personnel at that time, and students and staff returned to the school at about 11:15 a.m.
Anyone with information should contact the Elizabethtown Police Department at 862-3125.
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