Bank rob­bery case dropped

‘It is un­likely that she did it’

Cecil Whig - - FRONT PAGE - By CARL HAMIL­TON

ca­hamil­ton@ce­cil­whig.com

— Pros­e­cu­tors have dropped their crim­i­nal case against a woman ac­cused of rob­bing a bank in down­town Ris­ing Sun in Jan­uary be­cause it ap­pears that in­ves­ti­ga­tors ar­rested and charged the wrong per­son.

As­sis­tant State’s At­tor­ney Kevin B. Urick dis­missed charges of armed rob­bery, rob­bery and theft of more than $1,000 and less than $10,000 against the de­fen­dant, Lind­sey Michelle Palmer, 36, of Conowingo, dur­ing a court­room hear­ing Wed­nes­day.

“When the fi­nal ev­i­dence ex­change between the state and de­fense oc­curred, it was ev­i­dent that the state did not have the ev­i­dence to meet its bur­den of proof, to the prove the case beyond a rea­son­able doubt,” Urick said, adding, “You can never be ab­so­lutely cer­tain of some­one’s in­no­cence, but I think it is un­likely that she (Palmer) did it.”

Elk­ton-based lawyer H. Nor­man Wilson rep­re­sented Palmer. Wilson could not be reached at his of­fice Thurs­day af­ter­noon for comment.

Be­cause the in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the armed rob­bery at 11:20 a.m. on Jan. 20 at

ELK­TON

the PNC Bank at 101 E. Main St. will re­sume now, in light of the lat­est de­vel­op­ment, pros­e­cu­tors de­clined to spec­ify the ev­i­dence that led to the drop­ping of all charges against Palmer.

Urick did re­port that the state lacked fin­ger­prints and DNA ev­i­dence.

Sgt. Christo­pher Tserkis Sr., of the Ris­ing Sun Po­lice Depart­ment, in­ves­ti­gated the bank rob­bery, ac­cord­ing to Ce­cil County Dis­trict and Cir­cuit Court records.

RSPD Chief Francis “Chip” Peter­son com­mented Thurs­day, “The in­ves­ti­ga­tion will con­tinue. It is not a dead is­sue. Names and ad­dresses of sus­pects and peo­ple of in­ter­est come and go dur­ing any in­ves­ti­ga­tion. We will con­tinue to in­ves­ti­gate un­til we make an ap­pre­hen­sion.”

Tserkis had re­ported in court doc­u­ments that the sus­pect ap­proached the teller and then “un­rav­eled the piece of pa­per, be­ing a note that de­manded money and (stated) she was in pos­ses­sion of a gun.”

The in­ves­ti­ga­tor also re­ported in those court pa­pers, “Although the note stated the sus­pect was in pos­ses­sion of a hand­gun, no hand­gun was ever dis­played at the scene, only im­plied.”

The teller took ap­prox­i­mately $2,000 from the cash drawer and handed it to the sus­pect, who, af­ter fold­ing the bills and putting them in her purse, walked out of the bank and was last seen flee­ing on foot up North Wal­nut Street, ac­cord­ing to court records.

Those court doc­u­ments in­di­cate that teller sur­ren­dered the money to the sus­pect be­cause he was “fear­ing for his safety and the safety of oth­ers.”

A bank sur­veil­lance cam­era video­taped the sus­pect dur­ing the rob­bery and in­ves­ti­ga­tors dis­trib­uted a photo gleaned from that footage, ask­ing the public to help de­tec­tives iden­tify the woman, po­lice said at the time. The Mary­land As­so­ci­a­tion for Bank Se­cu­rity of­fered a $5,000 re­ward for in­for­ma­tion that would lead to an ar­rest and con­vic­tion, po­lice added.

In­ves­ti­ga­tors in­ter­viewed ev­ery pa­tron and em­ployee who was in­side the bank at the time of the rob­bery and re­ceived de­scrip­tions of the sus­pect, po­lice re­ported.

A branch man­ager told Tserkis that “their bank had just been robbed by a Mid­dle East­ern look­ing de­scent fe­male,” at the out­set of the in­ves­ti­ga­tion, ac­cord­ing to court records made public in late Jan­uary.

Po­lice re­ported that the sus­pect was wear­ing a “pur­ple head wrap, blue jeans and a pur­ple coat.”

Some 30 min­utes af­ter the rob­bery, at the RSPD sta­tion, in­ves­ti­ga­tors showed a photo lineup con­sist­ing of six pic­tures show­ing “fe­males of sim­i­lar height, weight, age and com­plex­ion of Lind­say Palmer” to the teller who had sur­ren­dered the money to the sus­pect af­ter re­ceiv­ing the note, po­lice re­ported at the time.

“( The teller) im­me­di­ately gave a pos­i­tive iden­ti­fi­ca­tion of Lind­say Palmer in the lineup as the fe­male who robbed PNC Bank,” court records al­leged at the time.

Also at that time, po­lice al- leged that the bank em­ployee made that pos­i­tive iden­ti­fi­ca­tion with “ex­treme cer­tainty,” and that Palmer matched the PNC Bank sur­veil­lance footage ob­tained from PNC Bank Se­cu­rity.

Some six hours af­ter the bank rob­bery, Tserkis re­ceived an “anony­mous tip stat­ing the Lind­sey Palmer matched the de­scrip- tion of the bank rob­ber,” ac­cord­ing to court records re­leased shortly af­ter Palmer’s ar­rest, which oc­curred some nine days af­ter the in­ci­dent.

Palmer re­mained in the Ce­cil County De­ten­tion Cen­ter for about a week, be­fore she was re­leased af­ter post­ing a $49,000 bond, court records show.

CE­CIL WHIG PHOTO BY JANE BELLMYER

Crys­tal Horsts takes the golf cart and her youngest child past the cus­tom dairy heifers to check on her hus­band, Galen, at the fam­ily’s farm on Eng­land Cream­ery Road in Zion.

CE­CIL WHIG FILE PHOTO

This sur­veil­lance photo shows the sus­pect who robbed the PNC Bank in Ris­ing Sun on Jan. 20. It played a role in in­ves­ti­ga­tors iden­ti­fy­ing a Conowingo woman as the sus­pect and ar­rest­ing her. But on Wed­nes­day, cit­ing a lack of ev­i­dence, pros­e­cu­tors dropped their case against that woman.

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