Employees at a Paris Road bank were in the process of alerting other area banks to a suspicious person they had seen in their bank when First National Bank and Trust Co. was robbed by a person who fit the description, Columbia police said.
“At that bank, they were very aware that something was wrong, that he was not acting in a normal manner,” Capt. Zim Schwartze said. Schwartze would not name the bank.
The 3100 Paris Road branch of First National Bank was robbed about 10:40 a.m. Tuesday, police said. The suspect entered the bank and demanded money from a teller. He implied that he had a weapon, but employees didn’t see one, Schwartze said.
The suspect left the bank on foot with an undisclosed amount of money. He ran through a field southwest of the bank, Schwartze said, which police searched with dogs. She said it wasn’t clear whether the suspect had a car parked in the area.
No one was injured in the incident.
“Prior to the robbery, it was a pretty typical day at the branch,” said Sabrina McDonnell, senior vice president of retail banking at First National. She added that the branch, one of seven in Columbia, has been robbed before.
Schwartze confirmed that the branch was robbed on Dec. 9, 2004, but said an arrest had been made in that incident.
“Banks on Paris Road do tend to get hit often, likely because there’s easy access in and out,” Schwartze said.
Police are looking into similarities between this robbery and two others — one on May 7 and another on May 14. Both of those robberies occurred at different branches of Boone County National Bank.
“We always look at the fact they might be connected somehow or look at it if it was a copycat crime,” Schwartze said.
She also had praise for the employees at the Paris Road bank who tried to thwart a robbery: “They were in the process of trying to contact or call the other banks when First National was hit. That is wonderful that they were trying to help other banks.”