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Rostraver police seek details after bank heist

| Monday, May 14, 2012, 11:24 a.m.

A serial bank robber may have struck again.

But it's too soon to tell.

Law enforcement officials will be pooling resources this week to determine if a robber who hit the Tri-County branch of PNC in Rostraver Township Saturday afternoon is the same man who has successfully robbed nine other banks since March.

A white man walked into the free-standing bank building along Route 201 at 12:22 p.m. yesterday and handed a note to a teller demanding money, Rostraver police reported.

No weapon was displayed and no one was injured, a department spokesman said. Police did not report how much money was stolen.

Details are sketchy about the robber, described only as a white man between the ages of 25 and 30.

Police are asking any customers who were not interviewed yesterday to contact police or the FBI at its Charleroi office. Westmoreland County detectives are also assisting in the investigation.

Officials are not sure if the robber is the same man who has held up banks in Allegheny and Westmoreland counties, including a May 24 holdup at Southwest Bank in New Stanton and another Saturday holdup on May 19 at the National City Bank branch just off Route 30 in North Huntingdon Township.

'They can't say it is. They can't say it isn't,' said the Rostraver spokesman. 'They're going to compare notes with the FBI on the other cases to determine if it is related or not.'

After the North Huntingdon holdup, FBI officials said they believed it was connected to a host of bank robberies since March 14.

Those robberies took place at a PNC branch at the Southland Shopping Center in Pleasant Hills on May 10; a National City Bank in Hempfield Township on May 3; Brentwood Bank in the South Park Shops in Bethel Park on April 13; National City Bank in Bethel Park on March 29; Mellon Bank in Pitcairn on March 27; Parkvale Bank in North Huntingdon on March 20, and Great American Federal in White Oak on March 14.

In each case, the suspect was described as a white male in his mid-20s with a 'chunky' or 'stocky' build.

It was not reported if yesterday's robber wore the serial robber's signature face mask or displayed his tendency to talk loudly while using profanities.

No details were available on how he made his getaway.

The Rostraver robbery differs from some of the other cases because the holdup man, who generally works alone, did not use a revolver or semiautomatic pistol.

Investigators are operating under the theory that the robber might be feeding a financial need brought on by an addiction to gambling or drugs.

The robber generally eludes capture after fleeing on foot. But in the Hempfield Township holdup, he fled in a black Pontiac Sunfire driven by a dark-haired white man with a blond-haired woman in her early 20s in the front passenger seat.

Customers who can provide information can call the Charleroi FBI office at 724-483-3122 or Rostraver police at 724-929-4111.

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