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2 men rob S & T Bank, escape

MANOR -- State police continue to search for two suspects involved in a bank robbery in Manor Township shortly after 9 a.m. Monday.

Investigators said two black males wearing blue jeans, black hooded sweatshirts and dark-colored masks entered the S&T Bank branch along Pleasant View Drive at 9:21 a.m., produced handguns and demanded money from the tellers.

After receiving an undisclosed amount of cash, the men left on foot before stealing a white Armstrong School District van from the district's administration building at the corner of Route 66 and Pleasant View Drive, a short distance from the bank.

Police said the men drove the van south on Route 66, about a mile to Hobson Drive where they abandoned it. The pair is believed to have then fled in a silver Volkswagen Jetta with possible Maryland registration plates, police said.

Corporal Ben Hetrick of the East Franklin station, said a message has been issued to other police departments across Western Pennsylvania about the fleeing suspects.

The van stolen by the men was being processed for evidence, such as fingerprints and DNA, Hetrick said.

State police ground units and helicopters, along with police from surrounding municipalities, searched the area of the bank and Hobson Drive for the suspects following the robbery.

Armstrong County Detective Chuck Edwards said the chief county detective came across the stolen van on Hobson Drive shortly after the robbery.

"When the detectives approached the parked van, it was still running," Edwards said Monday morning. They didn't see any foot tracks in the grass nearb,y and were waiting for additional manpower to complete a more thorough search."

During the hours following the robbery, all 12 Armstrong School District buildings were placed on lockdown, according to district spokesman Jon Szish. The van stolen in the robbery was used to distribute inter-office mail between the administration building and the schools, he said.

"Basically no one was allowed to leave or enter any of the schools, and schools were notified not to allow the mail van driver into the schools," he said.

Szish said the van was in the parking lot with the doors unlocked and the keys in the ignition. It was not known if the vehicle's engine was running or not.

"The driver was preparing to make his mail run and had come back into the building for something when the van was taken," Szish said. "We have already instructed employees not to leave the vehicles unattended for any reason, so something like this can't happen again."

Szish said the lockdown ended about noon, but not before morning kindergarten students were dismissed under added supervision from police and district officials.

Lenape Elementary School and Lenape Technical School, which also were placed under lockdown, are within a half-mile of the bank. That prompted the move, Szish said.

Investigators said they received several reports of vehicles and people matching the description of the suspects in at least two areas of Manor Township, but neither were found to be connected to the robbery.

East Franklin Township Police said they assisted state police at the Valley Dairy Restaurant after it was reported that a man matching the description of the suspects had entered the restaurant in Franklin Village Mall. Police said it was determined the man was not a suspect.

Police said Monday afternoon that they were continuing to review surveillance tapes from the bank and conducting interviews with witnesses in the area.

Anyone with information is asked to call state police at 724-543-2011.

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