Se­rial bank rob­bery sus­pect ar­rested

The Globe - - FRONT PAGE - By Linda Finarelli

A dis­tinc­tive sweat­shirt may have saved a Sov­er­eign Bank branch in Chel­tenham from be­ing held up for a third time July 22.

When the Sov­er­eign Bank at 300 Cen­tral Av­enue was held up for a sec­ond time June 13 — the first holdup oc­curred May 28 — the rob­ber was wear­ing a blue and white striped, hooded sweat­shirt. The rob­ber was be­lieved re­spon­si­ble for the armed rob­bery of six banks in the Philadel­phia re­gion from mid-May to mid-July this year, ac­cord­ing to the Mont­gomery County Dis­trict At­tor­ney’s Of­fice.

A Chel­tenham po­lice of­fi­cer work­ing a task force bank de­tail at 9 a.m. Mon­day ob­served a Ford Tau­rus cir­cling the Sov­er­eign Bank in Chel­tenham and no­ticed that the op­er­a­tor of the ve­hi­cle was wear­ing a blue and white striped, hooded sweat­shirt, ac­cord­ing to po­lice.

Demetri­ous Wash­ing­ton, 26, of Philadel­phia, who was driv­ing the ve­hi­cle, matched the de­scrip­tion of the se­rial bank rob­ber and was pulled over and taken into cus­tody. He later con­fessed to his in­volve­ment in a num­ber of the rob­beries, ac­cord­ing to the press re­lease from the DA’s of­fice.

Wash­ing­ton is be­lieved re­spon­si­ble for the two bank rob­beries in Chel­tenham; the PNC Bank at 6855 Frank­ford Ave., Philadel­phia, on May 15; the Wells Fargo Bank at 6611 Cas­tor Ave., Philadel­phia, on May 23; the Wells Fargo Bank at 2650 Hunt­ing­don Pike, Lower More­land, on June 19; and the Wells Fargo Bank at 620 Hunt­ing­don Pike, Rock­ledge, on July 10.

In each rob­bery, the sus­pect was de­scribed as be­ing ei­ther a black or His­panic male, 5 feet 3 inches to 5 feet 5 inches tall, with a thin build, wear­ing a hooded sweat­shirt and a scarf cov­er­ing his face. The sus­pect was also armed with what ap­peared to be a sil­ver re­volver, the re­lease said.

Po­lice of­fi­cers from the mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties in which the holdups oc­curred, along with of­fi­cers

from Abing­ton and Up­per Southamp­ton town­ships, cre­ated a task force to con­duct sur­veil­lance at banks in their re­spec­tive ju­ris­dic­tions, the DA’s of­fice said.

Mon­day that sur­veil­lance paid off.

Wash­ing­ton was charged with mul­ti­ple counts of rob­bery, sim­ple as­sault, reck­lessly en­dan­ger­ing an­other per­son, ter­ror­is­tic threats and theft by de­cep­tion. He was ar­raigned be­fore Dis­trict Judge Christopher Cer­ski and was taken to Mont­gomery County Prison in lieu of bail set at $1 mil­lion. A pre­lim­i­nary hear­ing is sched­uled be­fore Cer­ski Aug. 5.

The case will be pros­e­cuted by As­sis­tant Dis­trict At­tor­ney Jesse S. King.

Demetri­ous Wash­ing­ton

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