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Ford Dealership Gives Bank Robber a Ride

Flounder

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I'll preface this with one experience I had with Coccia Ford. I took my Trac in to have a few issues addressed - under the 3/36 warranty. After getting the "could not duplicate" paper treatment and arguing with the service manager, he asked me, "Why don't you take it back to where you bought it?" The vehicle had been purchased in Norristown, PA, a suburb of Philadelphia. Needless to say, I restrained myself from beating the guy with his own shoe. That being said, this brings a huge smile to my face.

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Cops: A unique getaway
Wachovia Bank robbery suspect gets a ride from car dealership worker, say police.

By EDWARD LEWIS elewis@leader.net

PLAINS TWP. – A bank robber posing as a car buyer was able to recruit an unwitting Ford dealership employee to be his getaway driver after he robbed a nearby Wachovia Bank branch Thursday, police said.

A white male in his 20s with a scruffy look and wearing blue shorts robbed the Wachovia Bank at Fox Hill Road and state Route 315 just before noon, authorities said.

Dave Russell, an employee at Coccia Ford Lincoln Mercury on Fox Hill Road, told a reporter the description of the robber matches the description of a customer who wanted to buy a Ford Mustang valued at $26,000.

Russell said the customer was looking to buy the Mustang on Wednesday because his other car had broken down. Russell said the customer told him he needed 10 minutes to pick up a $25,000 check from a bank but never returned. The customer, Russell said, told him the $25,000 came from a settlement.

On Thursday, Russell said, he was called in to work on his day off because the customer had returned to buy the Mustang. When Russell arrived, he was told the customer ran away.

“When I showed up, I said ‘Where’s my customer’ and I was told he ran down the street. Strange.” Russell said. “It seems kind of fishy. He wanted to buy a car with a $25,000 check then all of a sudden he’s seen running down the road. I know his first name is Keith.”

In a strange twist of events, Plains Township police Chief James O’Malley said the suspect went back to Coccia after robbing the bank and was able to convince an employee to give him a ride.

“The suspect said his girlfriend broke down with kids and the employee felt bad for him and gave him a ride,” O’Malley said. He said the Coccia employee dropped the suspect off on George Avenue, near Trethaway Avenue, in Wilkes-Barre.

About 45 minutes after the robbery, an employee from Coccia was seen sitting inside O’Malley’s police cruiser parked on George Avenue while police searched the immediate area for nearly an hour.

O’Malley said the suspect didn’t have a weapon when he handed a teller a note demanding money. The suspect fled the bank with an undetermined amount of cash. Several customers were inside the bank during the robbery. No injuries were reported.

Shirley Walsh of Old Forge gave police a similar description of the suspect. Walsh said she was pulling into the bank’s parking lot and saw a scruffy white male wearing blue shorts being chased by a bank employee. “We saw him running and a guy from the bank running after him.”

Walsh said she saw the suspect run behind the Chicken Coop restaurant, which is between the bank and the car dealership.

Police believe the suspect might have been at the Sheetz Service Plaza at Route 315 and Jumper Road, across the highway from the bank, and at Lispi’s Garage on Route 315 prior to the bank robbery.

The suspect is described as 5 feet 9 inches tall, with a medium build, short dark hair, tattoos on his arms, wearing blue shorts and a white shirt with an unknown logo.

Anyone with information about the suspect is asked to contact Plains Township police at 829-3432.
 






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