UP­DATE: Shootout Helps Seal Alexan­dria Bank Rob­bery Case

The Washington Post Sunday - - Metro Week -

The well-dressed man killed in a shootout with Prince Ge­orge’s County po­lice last month was “Dap­per Dan,” the fe­do­rawear­ing thief who robbed a bank in Jan­uary in Old Town Alexan­dria, po­lice have de­ter­mined. “De­tec­tives were able to con­clude that Michael Terry Smith, the man who was killed in the shootout, was the same man who robbed the bank in Jan­uary,” said Amy Bertsch, spokes­woman for the Alexan­dria po­lice.

Bertsch said po­lice have closed the case, one of three bank rob­beries in the city this year.

Smith, nick­named “Dap­per Dan” by Alexan­dria po­lice be­cause of the spiffy fe­dora, suit and dress coat he wore the day he robbed the Vir­ginia Com­merce branch on King Street, died af­ter trad­ing gun­fire with Prince Ge­orge’s po­lice of­fi­cers and FBI agents March 22.

Smith had holed him­self up in an apart­ment in the Forestville area of the county af­ter po­lice at­tempted to ex­e­cute a search war­rant that ac­cused him of threat­en­ing U.S. Capi­tol Po­lice of­fi­cers.

Dur­ing the nine-hour stand­off, Smith, who had a hand­gun, took a shower. He then donned a suit and shined his shoes, an FBI spokesman said at the time.

The cloth­ing he put on the day he was killed was rem­i­nis­cent of the at­tire he wore Jan. 26, when he robbed the Alexan­dria bank. That day, Alexan­dria po­lice said, Smith was “wear­ing a grey fe­dora hat with a black band, a shirt and tie, a . . . long dress coat and dress shoes.” His coat was cinched at the waist with a belt, and he car­ried a leather brief­case.

The of­fi­cers had gone to the apart­ment af­ter Smith’s girl­friend re­ported Smith’s al­leged in­volve­ment in a bank rob­bery, the FBI said.

Smith, 42, died af­ter state po­lice troop­ers and FBI agents fired 10 tear gas can­is­ters into the apart­ment and forced their way in. An FBI spokesman said at the time that shots were fired but that it was un­clear whether Smith died of a self-in­flicted wound or was struck by po­lice fire.

FBI spokesman Paul Bres­son said the FBI be­lieves that Smith was “in­volved in other crimes,” per­haps in other states.

Bertsch said Alexan­dria in­ves­ti­ga­tors had been in­ter­ested in talk­ing to Smith even be­fore the shootout.

She said Smith was unique for a bank rob­ber be­cause of his natty style of dress.

“This is the first time I’ve ever got­ten to say ‘fe­dora’ in con­nec­tion with a crime,” Bertsch said.

— Daniela Deane


Bank sur­veil­lance at Vir­ginia Com­merce on King Street, Alexan­dria, shows the rob­ber and his dis­tinc­tive ap­parel.

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