Fatal Robbery Puts Bankers on Notice

by Mark Friedman  on Monday, Feb. 19, 2007 12:00 am  

President and CEO of Metropolitan Nation Bank Lunsford Bridges was visiting a relative in Hot Springs on Dec. 23 when he got the call informing him that one of his employees had been shot during a robbery.

The Arkansas Crisis Response Team, a nonprofit organization in North Little Rock that helps companies and individuals recover from traumatic events, assisted the bank's employees.
Robert Stebbins, senior vice president and director of marketing for Metropolitan, said none of the tellers who witnessed the shooting has quit or left the company.

"[We] have more closely monitored the ones that worked at the location and worked with Jim, just to make sure they are getting the support they need," Stebbins said.

Hard Time 

Forethought isn't a bank robber's strong suit. 

National FBI statistics show that 75 percent of bank robbers are caught, which is a higher apprehension rate than for most other crimes. In 2004, law enforcement agencies in the United States cleared 46.3 percent of violent crimes and only 16.5 percent of property crimes, according to FBI statistics.

The biggest reason for the relative success in catching bank robbers is the high-quality video that is being made from the moment the robber walks through the doors. Plus, banks are well lit and, by their nature, provide several witnesses. Getting away with the money is difficult because some branches have bulletproof barriers between the teller and the customers and two sets of doors that slow or trap a robber as he's fleeing the building.

If the robber does get some cash, an exploding dye pack or an electronic tracker will typically be hidden in the stash of money.

Rehder said most bank robbers are caught within six months. In the case of the Metropolitan homicide, the arrest came much faster — 11 days.

The Little Rock Police Department and the FBI used the image of the suspect caught on the bank's camera and blasted it to the media.

While most of his face was covered, the robber's droopy eyes were clearly visible — and so distinctive that Evans' mother called police.

"It took tough love on the part of [Evans'] mother and father to turn him in, which says a lot about them," Bridges said.

Meanwhile, Los Angeles Police Department officers had noticed Evans in a car and asked him what he was doing there, said Little Rock Police Department spokesman Michelle Hill. 



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