Unarmed man robs bank, sprints away

By Will Scheff

Until Wednesday afternoon, the small town of Houston, Pa., hadn’t seen a bank robbery in… Until Wednesday afternoon, the small town of Houston, Pa., hadn’t seen a bank robbery in 80 years.

But a man without a visible weapon or getaway car changed that at about 2 p.m., when he strode into the National City Bank on Pike Street and demanded cash. He then walked out of the bank with an undisclosed amount of money before allegedly sprinting down some train tracks and escaping, police said.

Local authorities believe he is the same man who robbed the Citizens’ Bank in Washington, Pa., earlier that morning. He fit the same description as that man, who was reported as having a hand grenade.

“We’re looking for a black male, about 5-foot-6, thin build, wearing a hooded jacket,” Houston police officer Al Brooks said. “It’s the same exact description as the robber in Washington. But there was no weapon seen here.”

Federal regulations prohibit bank employees from disclosing details about bank robberies and customers inside the bank were told not to speak to the press by police.

Authorities wouldn’t speculate on how much was stolen in Houston, but Scott Beveridge, a writer for the Washington Observer-Reporter, said only $50 in quarters was taken from the Citizens’ Bank in Washington.

Both robberies occurred within two blocks of local police stations. No one was harmed in either incident.

Pittsburgh FBI agent Bill Crowley said that no new details about the case have emerged and that the suspect is still at large.

Locals of the towns, however, are still shocked.

“In the little town of Houston? Nothing like this ever happens,” said Joyce Piasente, a Houston native of 55 years. “The only time a bank was robbed here was in the 1920s.”