Man escapes after robbing Bluffton Bank of America during bomb threat

astice@islandpacket.comMay 1, 2013 

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A man who claimed he had a bomb robbed a Bank of America in Bluffton just before 4 p.m. and remained on the loose late Wednesday, according to police.

He was, however, captured on video.

Police have distributed photos of the suspect taken by bank security cameras and hope the public can help identify him.

The man demanded money from a teller at the bank at Windrush Lane and Baylor Drive before fleeing in a greenish Toyota truck with decals on the side, according to Lt. Joe Babkiewicz. The bank is just off eastbound U.S. 278 near the Publix shopping center.

He didn't pull out a weapon but claimed he had a bomb, police said. The teller handed over an undisclosed amount of money, and the man ran out. No one was injured.

The Bluffton Police Department and the FBI arrived soon after and interviewed witnesses who were inside.

Sally Mahan of Bluffton said she was using the ATM inside the bank when the doors were locked and managers announced the bank had just been robbed.

She said she had walked past the man on her way into the bank as he sat in his truck. Inside the bank, she didn't get a good look at him as he approached the teller because her back was turned to him.

"He must have come in right behind me," Mahan said.

Other witnesses told her he appeared shaky and agitated before demanding money and yelling, "I have a bomb!"

Mahan said about 10 other customers were in the bank during the robbery, and authorities kept them there for about an hour.

"It was definitely weird and scary," she said.

The suspect is described as white or Hispanic, with brown hair, between 5-foot-2 and 5-foot-5, 180 to 185 pounds and wearing a white T-shirt and green cargo shorts.

Anyone with information can call Babkiewicz at 843-540-3949, the Bluffton Police Department Tip Line at 843-706-4560 or the FBI at 803-551-4200.

Follow reporter Allison Stice at twitter.com/IPBG_Allison.

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