The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

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July 18, 2013

Bank leads discussed

Richland police: Robber had help

JOHNSTOWN — Richland Township authorities now believe the man who robbed the First National Bank branch on Scalp Avenue last week might be a cross-dresser and likely had help getting away.

A man dressed as a woman robbed the bank’s East Hills Office of an undisclosed amount of money on June 11.

The man fled on foot and now police believe he escaped with help.

“He ran through the Sunoco parking lot and apparently got into a car,” Richland police Detective Kevin Lehman said. “In that case he would have been getting into the passenger’s side. So we believe there was an accomplice.”

A man about 6 feet tall with a thin build entered the bank around 12:30 p.m. He wore a red wig, black dress, sweater with long sleeves and dark glasses, and carried a handbag.

The man passed a note to the teller demanding money. No weapon was displayed. The man then stuffed the money into his purse and fled.

“Is this a cross-dresser or is this simply a guy who dressed like a woman?” Lehman said. “We’re not sure.

“We’ve reached out to the cross-dressing community,” he said.

Initially, investigators targeted a cross-dresser as a possible suspect after a man came forward saying his female clothing had been stolen by an ex-partner, Lehman said.

The ex-partner later was cleared.

“We believe that subject was not involved,” Lehman said.

The robbery could be drug related because the man wore long sleeves on a hot day possibly to hide needle marks on his arms, Lehman said.

 Most armed robberies, burglaries and thefts in the area are drug related.

“I would be surprised if this one is not,” Lehman said

Cambria County Crime Stoppers is offering a $2,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction the bank robber.

Anyone with information on the robbery is asked to contact authorities at 800-281-1680.

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