Robbed West Newton bank receives stolen money by mail
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Veteran agents at the FBI office in Pittsburgh say they've never seen a case like this: a robbed bank receiving its money back in the mail.
"Several of us were talking about it and between us we had about 110 years of experience, and we couldn't recall a similar case," said Jeff Killeen, chief counsel for the office and a former street agent in Minneapolis.
Five days after a man in a Steelers shirt robbed the PNC branch in West Newton, Westmoreland County, on Dec. 9, a manila envelope arrived at the bank on Monday. Inside were stacks of bills, each encased in bubble wrap, probably from the robber who stole it, the FBI said.
The bank turned it over to agents.
About 20 percent of the money is still missing.
Agent Killeen said the suspect mailed it from a post office in Pittsburgh. The address of the bank was handwritten, and postage was paid with five neatly arranged Liberty Bell Forever stamps.
Agents are examining the package for fingerprints.
Bank surveillance images show the suspect to be about six feet or taller, white, thin and in his 30s, with dark hair and a mustache that extends below his lips. He wore a yellow and gray jacket over a yellow Steelers shirt.
Agent Killeen said the man made no attempt to hide his face. He did not show a weapon. As is typical of most bank robberies, he stole a few thousand dollars, although the FBI does not reveal exact amounts.
The fact that part of the money was returned presents an unusual legal scenario should the FBI catch the suspect. The robber will be prosecuted as any bank robber would be.
"A federal crime was still committed," said Agent Killeen.
But a judge would likely take into consideration the return as a mitigating factor in determining a sentence. It's also possible that someone else close to the suspect with knowledge of the robbery returned the money.
Anyone with information is asked to call the FBI at 412-432-4000.
First Published December 16, 2009 11:28 am