It was just before 6 p.m. last Tuesday when a bearded man wearing a blue knit cap and brown sweatshirt entered the TD Bank on County Road.
It’s a look that tellers at a number of local banks — including those at the Bank of America on County Road — have reported seeing right before they’ve been robbed by a man nicknamed the “Bearded Bandit.”
Judy Rusk, a TD Bank spokeswoman, said the company was grateful no one was hurt during the recent incident, which reportedly left tellers and other bank personnel shaken. She said she could not offer detailed comments because she did not want to jeopardize the on-going police investigation.
Just across Markwood Drive, the Bank of America had hired an armed security guard and stationed him outside the County Road bank last Friday.
Bank of America spokeswoman Nicole Nastacie said there are times the company has security on site at banking centers but for security reasons, Bank of America does not provide details of its security measures nor does it provide information on employee training.
Ms. Nastacie also said safety of customers and employees is a “top priority.”
Other Barrington banks that have not been targeted by the “Bearded Bandit” are aware of his recent hold-ups. Barrington has six banks in a one-mile stretch, including a Sovereign Bank and Webster Bank just across the street from the TD Bank and Bank of America.
“When something like this affects one of the other banking companies, it affects us all,” said Brenda Greene, vice president of communications for Webster Bank. Ms. Greene added that security training and safety updates aren’t spurred by a nearby robbery — they’re performed on a regular basis.
“As far as Webster is concerned, we’re always looking for the safety of customer and employees alike. We take it very seriously,” she said.
At BankNewport, vice president/security manager Lesley Vogt-Behan said there is an immediate procedure in response to a local robbery.
“When notified of a bank robbery in the community, we immediately perform employee awareness, which includes sending out a bank-wide notification and alert as to the incident, along with a photo of the suspected bank robber,” said Ms. Vogt-Behan in a statement.
“We also reiterate training procedures and ask that all bank employees be vigilant to any suspicious behavior.”
Last Saturday, the “Bearded Bandit” struck again. According to news reports, a TD Bank on West Shore Road in Warwick was robbed by a man matching the bandit’s description.