A small army of police are searching Nanuet today with police dogs and a helicopter for an armed man who got away with $30,000 when he robbed the branch on Route 59 in Nanuet. No one had been arrested as of 8 a.m. Jan. 11.
Clarkstown police suspect the gunman may be the same person who robbed the same in the Kohl's shopping center in April 2011. That robbery and today's robbery both took place about 9:30 a.m.
Clarkstown police, the Rockland County Sheriff's Department, Haverstraw police and State Police are searching the area, and the county's emergency helicopter is airborne to support the investigation. Several police K-9 units from the area are also involved in the search for the bank robber in a wooded area behind the bank.
Sgt. Harry Baumann said a man armed with a silver automatic handgun entered the bank, demanded cash and ran out the rear of the bank — heading east. The search, so far, has led police to stop several cars in connection with the robbery but no arrest has been made yet.
Baumann said no one was reported injured in the robbery.
Here's a description of the robber:
- A black man between 25 and 40 years old
- He's about 5-foot-6
- He weighs about 180 pounds
- He wore a dark, or black, hoodie sweatshirt that was pulled tightly over his face
- He has a bushy black beard
- He was wearing dark grey sweatpants
- He has a black backpack
Clarkstown Sgt. Nick Lafasciano said bank video was being reviewed for a possible photo of the suspect. He said the initial search perimeter was between Ludvigh Road, Church Street and Middletown Road in Nanuet and Crosfield Ave in West Nyack.
With a helicopter hovering overhead, Nanuet residents and workers at businesses in the area became concerned about what was happening.
“I was meeting with some people in my office when we heard the helicopter circling overhead and I thought to myself, ‘this can’t be good,’” said Diane Serratore, executive director of Rockland People to People. Her office on West Nyack Road is just north of the Kohl's shopping center.
Clarkstown Schools Superintendent Margaret Keller-Cogan said some of the district's schools had a "safety hold" briefly in response to the bank robbery. Nanuet schools also had increased security measures because of the robbery. Nanuet Schools were on a lock-down for awhile before lifting it.