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Kids help cops nab bank robbers

By Sue Botos

Rocky River

According to Rocky River police, a second get-away car, possibly driven by a woman, could be involved in the robbery of the Fifth Third Bank on Detroit Road in Rocky River on Wednesday.

Two of the three men who allegedly robbed the bank have been taken into custody by Rocky River and Westlake police, and another remains at large. Those apprehended are William A McWhorter, 38, of Cleveland and Darrell Curry, 27, also of Cleveland.

On Thursday, the FBI reported that the two were charged with federal armed bank robbery and one count of using a firearm in the commission of a violent crime.

McWhorter and Curry appeared Thursday in U.S. District Court in Cleveland.

The charge of federal armed bank robbery carries a penalty of up to 25 years in prison, while the firearms offense carries a mandatory seven year prison sentence.

According to Rocky River police Lt. Carl Gulas, the three  men entered the bank wearing Halloween masks and brandishing 9 mm automatic pistols. They emerged from the bank and entered a dark green Dodge Caravan. One man was reported to have exited the van, getting into another vehicle, possibly driven by the woman.

When the bank alarm sounded, the robbers dropped the money bags releasing red dye packets. A group of school children heard the accompanying bang and saw cash flying out of the van.

Gulas said the children reported they they saw someone get out of the van and enter the second vehicle with the money.

According to Gulas, the children flagged down an officer, responding to the alarm and gave a description of what they saw.

The tips from the children along with a phone call giving police a partial license plate number led to a brief chase eastbound on I-90.

The FBI said the Dodge Caravan was eastbound on I-90 and was stopped near Warren Road. Video from Westlake Police dash cam shows one suspect fleeing on foot. The driver did not resist arrest. The two men were arrested and the third man and possible accomplice are still at large.

“We’re confident the third person will soon be identified,” said Gulas. The amount of money taken was not disclosed, however, Gulas said “a substantial amount has been recovered.”

“We could not have done it without the Westlake Police,” said Gulas, adding that it was Westlake officers who found the van on I-90 and helped block it.

Anyone with additional information as to the identity or whereabouts of these two men is asked to contact the Rocky River or Cleveland Office of the FBI.

The case was investigated by the Rocky River Police, and members of the FBI’s bank robbery task force which includes the Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Department and the Cleveland Office of the FBI.

 

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