Brackenridge robbery suspect surrenders after standoff
A Brackenridge man who is accused of robbing the Allegheny-Ludlum Brackenridge Federal Credit Union of more than $100,000 surrendered to FBI agents Tuesday morning after a nearly four-hour standoff at his home.
Thomas George, 64, of Eighth Avenue was charged Tuesday in federal district court in Pittsburgh and held without bond pending a hearing.
During the standoff, agents and deputies were present along Eighth Avenue near the front of the house and Virginia Way behind the house.
Streets in the area of Eighth Avenue and Morgan Street were closed during the standoff.
According to a federal affidavit, after the standoff, a fully loaded 9 mm pistol was found on the basement steps of the home and a large bag with cash was found in the basement furnace.
George is accused of entering the Brackenridge Avenue credit union about 2 p.m. July 10 armed with a handgun and taking about $101,000 in $5 and $10 denominations from the vault in the teller area, according to the affidavit.
He wore a “Guy Fawkes” style mask, black hooded sweatshirt, dark gray sweatpants and gray gym shoes.
The FBI said George approached the teller counter, pointed a pistol at the two tellers working behind the counter and demanded that they open the gate leading behind the counter.
The suspect was seen departing the credit union through a rear door.
A witness told investigators he saw a stocky man meeting the robber’s description running down Orchard Way and getting into a dark blue SUV. Surveillance video revealed it was a Ford Escape.
The license plate was registered to George and a relative.
The FBI said George was inside the credit union about 9 a.m. the day of the robbery and deposited $50.
The eyewitness tips about a potential getaway vehicle led authorities to suspect George, U.S. Attorney Scott W. Brady said in a statement.
FBI agents, Brackenridge police and Allegheny County Sheriff’s deputies went to George’s house in the 1000 block of Eighth Avenue just after 6 a.m. Tuesday in connection with the investigation, the FBI said.
After a request from the FBI, other people left the house, but George barricaded himself inside, said Chad Yarbrough, FBI Pittsburgh assistant special agent in charge.
The affidavit said a relative told police George was armed with a handgun.
“We secured the area and began negotiating,” Yarbrough said just after 10 a.m. “We’re happy to say the suspect has surrendered and is in custody.”
Brackenridge police Chief Justin McIntire said cases involving barricaded suspects “can be tense going through,” and added, “We’re happy no one was hurt. Everything was good.”
Chuck Biedka is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Chuck at 724-226-4711, [email protected] or via Twitter .