Robber ‘not nervous but sure was in a hurry’
“He didn’t seem too nervous, but I’d say he was in a bit of a hurry goin’ out of here.”
That’s the way one witness, Roosevelt Hopper, described the flight of the bandit who robbed the Haynes Bank of Cliffside of $62,971 Thursday afternoon.
Hopper, custodian for the Cliffside Baptist Church, which is right across the street from the bank, entered the bank just a minute or so before the masked bandit left.
“I was just coming over to get some change,” said Hopper, “and I came in just as the bandit was about to leave. I guess I was here about a minute before he left.
“I didn’t realize it was a hold-up at first. The bandit was talking to Mr. Owens (board chairman Hollis M. Owens, who had entered the bank shortly before Hopper), who was sitting at his desk over there.
“He didn’t say anything to me and I didn’t even know he had a gun.”
Hopper said the robber was wearing a “weird wig of some kind—hair down to his shoulders,” and a false face.
“He looked like some kind of animal,” said Hopper.
The bandit had entered the bank shortly after 1 p.m. Thursday. There were three female tellers in the building at the time, Mrs. Jane Hamrick, Mrs. Jerene Landreth, and Mrs. Sandra Howard.
Mrs. Hamrick said the man was wearing the mask, the wig, a raincoat and gloves.
“He came to my window, I got up and he handed me a white cloth bag,” she said. “It was about the size of a pillow-case. Then he pointed the gun at me. He didn’t say much but I knew what he wanted.”
Mrs. Hamrick started to fill the bag with money from the three cash drawers and he came around to help. He also got some cash from the bank vault.
Owens said he came in before the bandit left.
“I didn’t realize there was a robbery when I first came in,” Owens said. I went to my desk over there in the corner, laid down my hat, turned around, and there was this weird-looking fellow.
The robber made the three women lie on the floor and Owens sit down at his desk. About that time Hopper came in.
“The women must have been lying down when I came in,” said Hopper. “I realized I didn’t see them when I first came in. Then I say this man talking to Mr. Owens.”
The bandit went out the front door “in a hurry,” said Hopper and went to a white-over-green Chevrolet which was parked across the street at the church.
“I noticed the car when I first got here, because I parked along side it,” said Hopper. Of course, he said, he didn’t think anything about it then.
“He was in a hurry when he left the parking lot too,” Hopper said. “We saw him head south and one of the women called the law.”
The Sheriff’s Department and Highway Patrolmen threw up roadblocks as soon as the report came in. The car, reportedly stolen from Chesnee, was found abandoned Friday on a secluded country road about two miles from the scene of the robbery.
As of this morning, no new leads have been turned up on the identity of the bank robber, but Sheriff Damon Huskey has said he feels the man might have had accomplices, whom he met after the robbery.
The Federal and State Bureaus of Investigation have been called into the case.
Article provided by Jane Robinson Hamrick