A man escaped with money from a Trustco Bank after police suspect someone called in a fake threat to Mohonasen High School as a diversion.
A white man wearing a puffy black coat, a Yankees baseball hat and sunglasses entered the bank at 141 W. Campbell Road near Interstate 890 at around 2:35 p.m. Wednesday, and handed a note demanding money to a teller before fleeing on foot, Police Lt. Mike Brown said.
Brown said the suspect, who police estimated was around 30 years old and 5-foot-9, did not present a weapon but in the note threatened that he had one. It was unknown if he had a vehicle nearby or whether he was working with anyone else, Brown said.
Rotterdam police scanned the immediate area with the help of Schenectady police K9 units and state police but had not found the suspect as of Wednesday evening. Brown did not release dollar figures for the amount the suspect got away with.
Rotterdam police received a call at around 2:30 p.m. from someone claiming to be on the Mohonasen school campus when he overheard two males discussing going into the school with guns.
But the sergeant who took the call thought it sounded suspicious because the caller did not provide more details and quickly hung up, Brown said.
“We believe that was a distraction call,” Brown said outside the bank about two hours after the robbery.
Police responded to the Mohonasen school campus, where officials instituted a lockout at the high school and adjacent Draper Middle School from around 2:45 to 3:30. Police surveyed the school and determined the threat was not credible, Mohonasen spokeswoman Samantha Brumley said.
By that point, the robber had fled the bank over four miles from the school. Brown said Rotterdam police still responded to the bank robbery within minutes of receiving the call.
Brown said no other customers were in the bank when the robbery happened, but that three people were entering the bank as the robber left. Police took witness statements and collected surveillance footage at the scene. Brown said they would look into similar robberies for leads.
Anyone with information about the robbery should contact Rotterdam police at 355-7397.
At around 3 p.m. on Wednesday, Albany police responded to a separate bank robbery at the NBT Bank at 54 State St.. When asked if the robberies were related, Albany police Officer Steven Smith said he had “no idea.”
The suspect in the Albany robbery also handed a note to a teller demanding money and fled with an unspecified amount of cash, according to Albany police. But the suspect descriptions varied. The Albany suspect was described as a white male with reddish colored hair and approximately 50 years old. He was last seen wearing a blue-and-black hooded sweatshirt.
Anyone with information about the Albany robbery should call the Albany Police Detective Division at 462-8039.
Reach Gazette reporter Zachary Matson at 395-3120, [email protected] or @zacharydmatson on Twitter.