Cumberland Times-News

September 3, 2013

Bank robbery suspects nabbed in 2nd try

Concerned citizen’s call leads to arrest of Pa. man, 47, and Md. woman, 27

From Staff Reports
Cumberland Times-News

— LAVALE — A Shade Gap, Pa., man was arrested Tuesday along with an accomplice within minutes of a robbery of the Susquehanna Bank branch on National Highway in LaVale, the result of a concerned citizen’s call to police.

Tuesday’s holdup at the Susquehanna Bank branch in the 900 block of National Highway marked the second robbery there in less than a week.

The suspects were identified as 47-year old William Carl Miller Jr. of Shade Gap, Pa., and 27-year-old Chelsea Maye Morrison-Mikolajczyk of North East.  

Miller was charged with armed robbery, conspiracy to commit armed robbery, robbery, theft and first- and second-degree assault.  

Miller was also charged with armed robbery, first- and second-degree assault and theft in connection with the Aug. 28 robbery of the same bank.

No injuries were reported in either incident.

Morrison-Mikolajczyk was charged with her involvement in the bank robbery on Tuesday. She was charged with armed robbery, conspiracy to commit armed robbery, robbery and theft.

Both Miller and Morrison-Mikolajczyk were awaiting bond hearings before a District Court commissioner late Tuesday afternoon.  

According to the C3I unit, it was about 10 a.m. when the pair entered the Susquehanna Bank branch office on National Highway.

Miller went behind the counter and confronted the bank tellers, telling them that he had a gun and demanded money.

He then began going through the teller drawers and removed an undisclosed amount of money, police said.

At the same time, Morrison-Mikolajczyk allegedly acted as a “lookout” in the lobby of the bank.

Miller placed the money in a black satchel and left the bank with Morrison-Mikolajczyk, exiting through the same rear door they used to enter the building.

While the suspects were walking across the parking lot, a dye pack in the stolen money exploded.

Miller was observed taking the dye pack out of the satchel and throwing it to the ground — the same thing that he had done in the Aug. 28 incident, police said.

During the time the suspects were fleeing from the bank, a concerned citizen witnessed their suspicious activity and notified police.

The concerned citizen noticed that the suspects entered a vehicle that was parked in a parking lot adjacent to the bank, immediately called police and provided a detailed description of the getaway vehicle, as well as the direction of travel.   

The description of the vehicle was broadcasted to all law enforcement agencies in Allegany County.

With the description provided by the concerned citizen, an Allegany County trail ranger witnessed the suspect vehicle striking a motor vehicle on National Highway at Long Drive in LaVale. The suspect vehicle continued driving on National Highway after the accident.  

Maryland State Police and Allegany County Sheriff’s Office then observed the suspect vehicle traveling on National Highway in lower LaVale.

A short vehicle pursuit took place after officers activated their emergency equipment with the suspect vehicle continuing to travel on National Highway and onto state Route 36 toward Corriganville.

The suspect vehicle eventually stopped on Route 36 in Corriganville near Motor City, where sheriff’s deputies placed Miller and Morrison-Mikolajczyk into custody after a short foot pursuit with Miller.

Evidence from the bank’s dye pack was located on Miller and both suspects were wearing the same clothing as they were wearing when the bank robbery occurred.  

A search warrant was executed on the vehicle the suspects were operating, which resulted in the recovery of the money stolen from the bank, a black satchel and a pistol BB gun.  

Evidence was also recovered in the vehicle that was related to the bank robbery that occurred at the same Susquehanna Bank branch office on Aug. 28, police said.  

It was at about the same hour  on Aug. 28 that a lone gunman entered the Susquehanna Bank branch, displayed a handgun and demanded money from a teller.

In that incident, the teller complied with the demand, giving the suspect an unspecified amount of money that the suspect placed in a black satchel.

The suspect then walked out of the bank through the same rear door that he had entered.

According to the C3I unit, a dye pack in the money that he had been given exploded as the suspect walked across the parking lot.

A witness reportedly observed the suspect take the dye pack out of the satchel and throw it on the ground.

Police said the suspect was last seen running into the residential neighborhood behind the bank.

The suspect was described as a white male in his 40s, about 6 feet tall and of average build.

According to police, the suspect had a moustache and a couple days growth of beard and was wearing a long sleeve blue shirt, dark jeans and a black fedora or cowboy-style hat.

The suspect also had a black satchel slung over one shoulder.

Tuesday’s robbery and the Aug. 28 robbery remain under investigation by the C3I Unit and Maryland State Police.

Investigators from the C3I unit also responded to the bank to assist in the investigation.

The crime scene was also processed by an evidence collection technician with the Maryland State Police Forensic Sciences Division.