LAKE WYLIE -- Authorities continue to search for three suspects in an armed robbery that took place near closing time June 10 at the Wachovia branch in Lake Wylie.
Just after 5 p.m., bank employees called the York County Sheriff's Office after two men entered the bank with guns demanding money. According to the police report, one man entered waving a handgun while another man jumped over the bank counter and began taking money from the drawers.
"No one was physically injured," said Capt. Jerry Hoffman.
Authorities are not disclosing how much money was taken.
"We generally don't disclose that type of information just because we don't want to encourage other people to try the same thing," Hoffman said.
Officers arrived 16 minutes after receiving the call, according to the report. The suspects are believed to have fled toward North Carolina.
"We're still in the investigation process," Hoffman said.
Two of the suspects participated in the robbery, while the third remained in the stolen vehicle used for the crime. The men who entered the bank covered their faces with T-shirts or towels.
Both men are described as black males age 20 to 25. One is about 5 foot, 6 inches, weighing 140 to 150 pounds carrying a black backpack, while the other is about 5 foot, 8 inches, weighing 180 to 190 pounds. No information was available on the third suspect.
The vehicle used, a blue Dodge Caravan stolen before the incident, was recovered abandoned in Charlotte. Tellers and other employees at the Wachovia branch referred questions for comment to the corporate office. Christine Shaw, spokeswoman for Wachovia, declined to provide information during the investigation.
"I'm not going to be able to provide you with any useful information, because it is an ongoing investigation," she said. "We're going to allow the authorities there to handle that."
According to the police report six people were inside the bank during the incident and listed as witnesses. The Wachovia branch opened again Wednesday.
Because of the bank's location close to the North Carolina border, and because the suspects are believed to have fled north on S.C. 49, York County investigators and Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department are working together.
"Of course, we're working with them, as we would with any situation like this," Hoffman said.
The Wachovia robbery is not the first bank target in the Lake Wylie area. Other banks have had problems, including Bank of York, which was robbed Dec. 22. Four suspects were arrested immediately following that incident, which authorities used as an example of a growing trend in the area.
"It's been something that's concerned me for quite some time," 16th Circuit Solicitor Kevin Brackett said earlier this year. "We do have a problem with people crossing borders and coming down from Charlotte and committing crimes in Lake Wylie."
Brackett and York County Sheriff Bruce Bryant began a campaign in the spring to put information on arrested criminals on billboards beside heavily traveled roads crossing the state line. Their main goal, they said, is to show the severity of penalties for felony crimes in York County a "completely different world" from Mecklenburg County.
As the population in Charlotte and northern York County continues to boom, crimes such as this are becoming more common, Bryant told the Lake Wylie Pilot earlier this year.
"We have seen an increase," he said. "A lot of violent crimes, armed robberies and things like that, are coming from people who are coming down from North Carolina."
Anyone with information should call Crime Stoppers at (877) 409-4321 or the Sheriff's Office at (803) 628-3059. Or e-mail tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.