Three Alexandria men were arrested and charged with bank robbery yesterday after they allegedly held up the Burke and Herbert Bank and Trust Co. at 1828 Duke St., Alexandria police reported.

Harry E. Johnson, 21, of 2410 Burke Ave.; Clarence Johnson, 18, of 117 Roberts Homes, and Woodrow D. Miels, 31, of 1920 Duke St., were caught within minutes of the alleged robbery, according to Sgt. Archie Hall of Alexandria's criminal investigation office.

Hall said that Miels was charged with several traffic offenses in addition to the bank robbery charge.

Hall said that two men with handguns entered the bank about 1:15 p.m. yesterday and took an undetermined amount of money. They then tried to escape through a fence at the rear of the bank building, but apparently dropped the money when an explosive dye gadget went off.

Bank president Taylor Burke Jr. explained that the gadget works this way: I some bundles of money, such as a packet of $1 bills, the center is hollowed out and a small package is inserted. The package contains a capsule of indelible red dye, a capusle of tear gas, and a small explosive charge, which is triggered by an electromagnetic field specially set up at the door of the bank.

Sgt. Hall said the two Johnsons and Miels were arrested and charged with robbery by nearby police officers who had been notified immediately of the holdup by bank employees.

Hall said all three suspects are being held in the Alexandria city jail on $10,000 bond.