Cops and robbers: Bank heists leave police looking for culprits

Published on Wednesday, 13 August 2014 09:26 - Written by BY Kenneth Dean, kdean@tylerpaper.com

Three different banks robbed in less than 30 hours have authorities looking for at least two different sets of robbers who have hit banks in the city of Tyler and Gregg County.

The latest robbery happened on Tuesday at the Austin Bank at Loop 323 and Shaw Street in Tyler.

Less than a mile away, police found the getaway car used in the heist, Tyler police spokesman Don Martin said.

Martin said the robbery took place just after 10 a.m. Tuesday when three black males made their way into the bank armed with guns and wearing make-shift masks.

Martin said the robbers took an undisclosed amount of cash and fled in a gold-colored vehicle with a missing hubcap on the driver’s side.

Moments after the robbery, Tyler police searching the area found a gold Ford Crown Victoria dumped behind a small church at the corner of Britton Avenue and Carden Street.

Martin said witnesses near the church indicated the robbers left the abandoned Ford in two vehicles, including a red Dodge Stratus and agray Nissan Altima.

The gold-colored vehicle and robbers’ descriptions matched information Gregg County Sheriff Maxey Cerliano gave Monday regarding an Austin Bank robbery in his county.

Cerliano said the men quickly entered the bank, displayed firearms and left in a gold vehicle.

“We don’t know if the two cases are related at this time, but that is something investigators will be looking into,” Martin said Tuesday.

Early Monday, a white male dressed in a business suit and wearing a nylon stocking over his face robbed two female bank employees at the Capital One Bank on Copeland Road and Loop 323.

Martin said the man was last seen driving away in a newer, dark-colored Mercedes.

That marked Tyler’s first robbery of the year.

“This is certainly unusual to have so many so quickly,” he said Tuesday in regard to three robberies.

Anyone with information in the robberies is asked to contact local law enforcement or the FBI.