Armed Man Robs Lebanon Bank; Police Arrive Seconds After Masked Gunman Flees on Foot With Cash
Lebanon police, including a K-9 unit, rest after the dog lost the scent in a parking lot off of Hanover street following a bank robbery at Lake Sunapee Bank in Lebanon, N.H., on November 20, 2013. Lt. Phil Roberts of the Lebanon Police Department said an abrupt ending of a strong scent trail can signal the suspect left in a car.
Valley News - Sarah Priestap
Lebanon Police gather at the scene of a bank robbery on Hanover Street in Lebanon, N.H., on Nov. 20, 2013. (Valley News - Sarah Priestap)
A masked gunman demanded money from a Hanover Street bank in Lebanon, N.H., on Nov. 20, 2013. (Courtesy Lebanon Police)
A bank employee affixes a sign to the drive-thru window at Lake Sunapee Bank in Lebanon, N.H., after the bank was robbed late morning on November 20, 2013.
Valley News - Sarah Priestap
A composite sketch of the unidentified man suspected of robbing the Hanover Street bank in Lebanon, N.H., on Nov. 20, 2013. (Courtesy Lebanon Police)
Lebanon — Police are searching for a white male who robbed a Lake Sunapee Bank branch at gunpoint shortly before noon on Wednesday.
Lebanon police officers arrived at the Hanover Street bank just seconds after the robber took off on foot toward the Lebanon Towers senior housing community with an undisclosed amount of money.
Surveillance video released by police shows a man wearing a black mask and carrying a black bag entering the bank. Police said the man stepped up to a teller’s window, demanded money and brandished a handgun. He then stuffed the cash into the bag and left the bank, according to police.
“I saw a masked man come out of the bank and pull the mask off and run away,” an eyewitness said minutes after the robbery. “I told my mother that it looked funny and I sat here and waited for the first officer to arrive.”
The individual is described as over 6 feet tall, wearing blue jeans and a blue jean jacket over a black hooded sweatshirt.
Immediately after the 11:52 a.m. robbery, a Lebanon police K9 unit, accompanied by two other officers, arrived at the scene. The police dog, named Max, was led out of the cruiser on leash. Wearing a green police vest with yellow reflective letters, Max quivered outside the bank as the officers donned their gear.
He then charged toward the front door of the bank and sniffed for a few seconds before tracking a scent through the bank parking lot, across Hanover Street and through the 103 Hanover Street plaza parking lot. The officers followed in a triangular formation, one with his AR-15 rifle drawn.
Max continued to follow the scent into the yard behind Lebanon Towers and onto Mount Vernon Avenue near the Mascoma River.
“That is where the scent ended,” Lebanon Police Lt. Phil Roberts said. Police suspect the man entered a vehicle at that point.
Police were searching along Hanover Street later Wednesday afternoon.
An employee at a business in the 103 Hanover Street plaza said he saw a man sprinting across the road and through the parking lot.
“It’s not unusual to see people crossing the street in a hurry,” the employee said. “But this person crossed the parking lot at a high rate of speed. Not a recreational jog.”
The employee said he thought the robbery was a fluke incident and shouldn’t raise safety concerns.
“It’s just one of those weird things,” he said. “Lebanon is a nice community and the police department does a good job and I think it was just a one-shot kind of a thing. I am quite comfortable here.”
Investigators were reviewing video surveillance from the bank and surrounding businesses on Wednesday afternoon.
Angie Stocker, senior vice president, director of retail banking at Lake Sunapee Bank, left the bank building with five other employees at around 1:40 p.m. Wednesday. Stocker said the employees were “pretty shaken up.”
“There was a robbery, everyone is safe and at this time it was an undisclosed amount of money,” Stocker said, declining further comment.
Several customers arrived at the bank to find it closed and saw caution tape on the door. The bank remained closed for the rest of the day Wednesday. Stocker said the branch would re-open today. Other businesses in the building remained open.
At the State Farm insurance agency in the 103 Hanover Street plaza, agency service assistant Cheryl Burwell peered out the office window an hour after the incident. She said she didn’t feel her safety was threatened.
“When you own a place of business, it’s just a chance you take,” Burwell said.
“You hope whoever walks in isn’t doing anything injurious.”
The Hanover Police Department and Grafton County Sheriff’s Department assisted Lebanon police.
Anyone with information regarding the robbery is urged to call the Lebanon Police Department at 603-448-1212.
Jordan Cuddemi can be reached at email@example.com or 603-727-3248.