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Robbers hit local bank; still at large

By Leonard Gray / L’Observateur / February 11, 1998

LAPLACE – Two men, apparently experienced in their trade, robbed a Louisiana Federal Credit Union branch Monday and made off with an undetermined amount of cash.

No one was injured in the incident, according to spokeswoman Debbie Farris.

Lt. Michael Tregre, spokesman of the St. John the Baptist Parish Sheriff’sOffice, said the FBI is also investigating the robbery, reported at 10:52 a.m. The FBI routinely investigates bank robberies where deposits arefederally insured.

The robbers entered the bank at 1400 West Airline Highway, approached a teller, displayed a handgun and made off with an undisclosed amount of cash, Tregre said. The first police unit responded one minute after theincident was reported.

An unusual point of interest, Tregre added, was that one robber was white and the other black. The white male, armed with a handgun, was describedby witnesses as being 5-foot-7 in height, 180 pounds, age in late 40s, wearing a blue shirt, blue jeans and with an orange bandanna over his face.

The black male, apparently unarmed, was described as being 6-foot to 6- foot-2 in height, 180 to 200 pounds, age in his late 30s, wearing a plaid shirt, blue jeans and a ski-mask.

The branch was closed for the remainder of the day while interviews were conducted by investigators of employees.

Tregre said the ski-masked robbers were caught on tape in the credit union office and also by roof-mounted cameras monitoring the Wal-Mart parking lot, where they abandoned a maroon Toyota Camry. The car wasfound at 11:35 a.m. and discovered stolen at midday on Feb. 6 from theparking lot of an apartment complex in Terrytown in Jefferson Parish.

Ironically, two St. John deputies responding to the bank call were alsocaptured on tape driving past the robbers as they walked away from the Camry.

The vehicle’s license number was spotted as the robbers made their escape and, just on the other side of Sonic Drive-In, the robbers parked the vehicle and departed on foot, possibly to a waiting second vehicle, Tregre said.

“They showed experience,” Tregre said, observing how the robbers organized their getaway.

The Camry is being checked for possible fingerprints and other traces of the robbers.

Anyone with information to assist the investigation is urged to phone Sgt.

Larry LeBlanc or Sgt. Darryl Marchand at 652-9513. The MetropolitanOrleans Bank Security Association is also offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the robbers.

Photo: LOUISIANA FEDERAL CREDIT UNION in LaPlace fell victim Monday to an armed robbery, with two suspects making off with an undisclosed amount of money. The 1400 West Airline Highway branch was closed for the remainder of the day.

Photo by Leonard Gray.

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