Cumberland Times-News

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March 31, 2012

Bank robber caught

2012 — CUMBERLAND — Police believe that a Cumberland man test drove a car at a used car lot one day last month then used it to rob a nearby bank.

John Allen Talerico, 49, was arrested Friday in connection with the March 16 armed robbery of BB&T Bank in Fort Ashby, W.Va. — and he is suspected of committing a string of bank robberies over the last 16 months in Maryland, Pennsylvania and West Virginia, according to area law enforcement authorities.

Talerico was charged with three counts of armed robbery, robbery  and theft in connection with three robberies at two Cumberland banks, all on Industrial Boulevard, according to the Allegany County Combined Criminal Investigation Unit, the Pennsylvania State Police, the Mineral County Sheriff’s Office and the FBI.

The Industrial Boulevard banks — M&T on March 11, 2011, Susquehanna on June 24, 2011, and M&T again on Sept. 13, 2011 — were all robbed at gunpoint by a single male suspect, authorities said.

After reviewing surveillance video, investigators determined that the same suspect was responsible for all three robberies, as well as another robbery on Dec. 23, 2010, at First Commonwealth Bank in Osterburg, Pa.

The suspect’s use of a dealer vehicle in the most recent robbery in Fort Ashby is what helped investigators catch him, according to a C3I press release issued on Saturday.

Witnesses described a possible suspect vehicle that was “possibly displaying a dealer tag magnetically mounted on the trunk,” the press release said. Then investigators received a tip from a Short Gap, W.Va., car dealer who had information about a man who had taken an identical vehicle for a test drive on the day of the robbery.

Investigators obtained a search warrant for a residence on Meder’s Lane and recovered a “large sum of currency hidden in the residence, several articles of clothing identical to that worn by the suspect in all five robberies, as well as a vehicle believed to have been used in the initial robbery in Osterburg, Pa.,” the press release said.

Talerico is being held on $500,000 bond at the Allegany County Detention Center. Charges are pending in Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

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