Alexandria police responded to a call yesterday morning from a suspicious bank teller at the Monroe Avenue branch of Burke & Herbert Bank & Trust Co. who spied three men peering through the glass window.

It was the right move, but the wrong bank.

Minutes later, the same three men doubled back to the Burke & Herbert branch at 1828 Duke St., a few blocks away - and made off with over $14,000 in cash.

"It's just been a bad morning," said bank president Taylor Burke.

According to Burke, three men in a white station wagon pulled up to the first branch, to "case the joint." One of the tellers called the police. When the authorities arrived, the would-be bank robbers took off. According to Burke, the police followed the station wagon - then lost it.

"I guess the police never figured they'd turn around and rob another branch," said one employe.

According to the FBI, the three men - were wearing stockings over their face - rushed into the Duke Street branch around 10:30. Armed with pistols, the robbers told the six customers and four tellers to line up against the wall. Two of the robbers vaulted over the tellers cages, the FBI said, and tried unsuccessfully to open the vault.All four teller cages were robbed, though no one was injured.

"The whole thing couldn't have lasted for five minutes," said John Martineau, who witness the robbery." I was so scared my knees were shaking."

The three masked men ran out of the bank, jumped into a white station wagon and got away - again.

A spokesman for the FBI said the case is under investigation.