Police in Md., Va. make arrests in unarmed bank robberies

By Martin Weil and Tom Jackman
Washington Post Staff Writers
Wednesday, March 17, 2010

A Prince George's County man has been arrested and charged in the robbery of five banks since December, county police said Tuesday. No gun was shown in any of the holdups, a police spokesman said.

Meanwhile, in Northern Virginia, police arrested a woman after a credit union was robbed in Fairfax County. They said they are investigating possible links to the holdups of four other financial institutions in recent days. As in the Maryland robberies, no gun was shown in any of the Virginia incidents, the Fairfax County police said.

In another development, D.C. police asked Tuesday for the public's help in finding a man who they think has held up four bank branches since November, two in the downtown area and two on Capitol Hill. No gun was shown in those holdups, the police said.

In recent months, authorities have described numerous incidents in which banks have been robbed without the display of a weapon. Police said weapons are sometimes implied but not shown.

Cpl. Clinton Copeland, a Prince George's police spokesman, said he believed there may be an uptick in bank robberies, in part because of the economy. He said he was unsure whether unarmed holdups are on the rise but suggested robbers might not expect to be challenged when they imply they have a weapon.

"Most people are not going to take the chance to find out if it's real," he said. Unarmed robbers might also think they face less possible prison time, he said.

"The good thing about it," he said, "is that we're catching them."

The man arrested in connection with the Prince George's holdups was identified Tuesday by the county police as Gregory Sylvester Taylor, 31, of Largo. He was arrested March 3 in Southeast Washington, police said.

He is being held in the District for extradition, county police said.

In the Virginia incident, police said the woman was taken into custody Tuesday after she emerged from an Apple Federal Credit Union branch on Centreville Road in Chantilly.

The woman was not immediately charged.

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