Beltsville man charged in seven bank robberies, suspect in others

Police say Samuel Lewis covered a lot of miles around the Washington area in the past year, dropping into banks all over to make withdrawals at gunpoint.

They have charged Lewis with seven bank robberies but suspect he was the gunman in several more in Montgomery, Arlington and Alexandria.

The seven for which he faces charges were in Montgomery County, whose detectives traveled to Prince George’s County to arrest him Friday. They said he did not have anything to say during or after his arrest at his home in Beltsville.

Lewis allegedly robbed the M&T Bank on New Hampshire Avenue in White Oak twice last year, in October and November. He also is charged with two robberies of a SunTrust Bank on Falls Road in Potomac in January and July of this year. Police say he stuck up a Wachovia Bank on Georgia Avenue in Olney last October and then a BB&T bank just down the street from it earlier this month. They also say he robbed the Frederick Avenue branch of Sovereign Bank in Gaithersburg in February.

Lewis, 44, is scheduled to appear in Rockville District Court on Monday afternoon for a hearing on his $1 million bond.


Samuel Lewis has been charged in seven bank robberies and named as a suspect in others. (Montgomery County Police)

Bank robberies have been reported across the region in the midst of the deepest economic turmoil since the Great Depression, an era that was the heyday of such notorious robbers as Willie Sutton, Pretty Boy Floyd, Baby Face Nelson, John Dillinger and Bonnie and Clyde.

This year, a man pleaded guilty to robbing 11 banks in the District. In August, authorities arrested a man they say is linked to six bank robberies in Arlington County.

Lewis was arrested, police said, because of what those earlier bank robbers would have called a snitch. An anonymous caller responded to information and photos released by police, becoming eligible for a reward of up to $2,500.

Ashley Halsey reports on national and local transportation.
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