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Gunman still loose after Meridian bank robbery

By Staff
CRIME SCENE n Detective Dean Harper dusts for prints at the Highway 39 North branch of AmSouth Bank. Photo by Marianne Todd/The Meridian Star.
By Marianne Todd/The Meridian Star
Oct. 4, 2001
A gunman was still at large today after robbing the Highway 39 North branch of AmSouth Bank on Wednesday and escaping with an undisclosed amount of money.
Lt. Wade Johnson, spokesman for the Meridian Police Department, said the man had a small-caliber chrome handgun. Johnson said the man fled the bank on foot after the 2:11 p.m. robbery.
Johnson said witnesses from surrounding businesses reported seeing the man jump into a light green 1970s model Oldsmobile or Buick with a black male driver.
The AmSouth robbery was the city's third bank robbery this year. The 23rd Avenue branch of Citizens National Bank was robbed Sept. 13, while the 22nd Avenue branch was robbed Sept. 18.
The AmSouth robbery also was the latest in a rash of armed robberies that have plagued Meridian in recent months. City records show that Meridian police investigated 81 robberies from Jan. 1 through Aug. 29.
On Wednesday, Meridian police combed city streets and Lauderdale County sheriff's deputies searched county roads looking for the AmSouth suspect's car.
While an investigator swept the bank for fingerprints, other officers brought two men to the bank for identification by bank employees. Those men were released.
Dozens of customers were turned away by a sign at the bank that said "Bank closed due to robbery."
Agents with the Mississippi Highway Patrol's Bureau of Investigations and the FBI were also on the robbery scene. Johnson said both of those agencies will participate in the investigation.
The AmSouth suspect was described as 5 feet 5 inches to 5 feet 9 inches tall and having a medium build. Witnesses said he wore a white or light gray shirt, dark blue shorts and a dark hat with red writing.
Police said the suspect could be the same man they are searching for in connection with the Citizens National Bank branches.
Residents with information can call CrimeStoppers at 485-1860.
Marianne Todd is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. Call her at 693-1551, ext. 3236, or e-mail her at mtodd@themeridianstar.com.
Here is a look at the three bank robberies that have occurred this year in Meridian.
Robbery No. 1: A man robbed the 23rd Avenue branch of Citizens National Bank at 10:19 a.m. on Sept. 13.
Robbery No. 2: A man robbed the 22nd Avenue branch of Citizens National Bank at 1 p.m. on Sept. 18 .
Robbery No. 3: A man robbed the Highway 39 North branch of AmSouth Bank at 2:11 p.m. Wednesday.

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