Surveillance video shows a black man pulling up to the People's United Bank on Dorset Street in South Burlington on a bicycle just before 5 p.m. Thursday.
"Within less than a minute you see him walk into the bank," South Burlington Police Chief Trevor Whipple said.
As several customers and employees watched, police say the man pulled a gun on the teller and demanded money.
"It was risky," Whipple said.
Police say after grabbing the cash the robber took off toward the University Mall, likely pedaling away.
"There's a lot of traffic at the mall, there's a lot of comings and goings," Whipple said.
Police believe the chance to disappear in the crowd makes this particular branch a popular target for thieves. In 2010, the bank was robbed by the so-called Burly Bandit. He was eventually caught. Last November, a man tried to rob a bank employee when she arrived for work. Then a few weeks later the bank was robbed again. No arrests were ever made in those cases.
People's United issued this statement about the recent rash of hold-ups at the Dorset Street Branch: "Our security measures are always evolving and additional measures have been taken since the last incidents."
"There have been times when the bank has contracted with our agency, particularly the post-robberies where they have asked us to post on site security," Whipple said.
Whipple says the police department has been working closely with the bank to make the Dorset Street branch less of a target for bandits. They have even recommended on-site security guards, but that can be costly at a rate of $48 an hour. Other security tactics include confronting anyone whose face is concealed with either sunglasses or a hat and installing more security cameras to help identify robbers.
"There are additional patrol tactics we may try to deploy," Whipple said.
South Burlington Police say they have received a few tips and would like to hear from anyone who may have seen a black man riding a bicycle near the bank at 5 p.m. Thursday.
The robber is described as a black man, 6'-6'2" tall, 150-160 pounds, with a prominent jaw line and a full sleeve tattoo with wavy lines and circles. He was wearing sporty sunglasses, a gray ball cap with a B on it, a white polo shirt with an ADT logo-- that's the security company, and light-colored pants and shoes.
If you see him or have any information about the robbery, call South Burlington Police at 802-846-4111 or Champlain Valley Crime Stoppers at 802-864-6666.
This is the second time in recent years a bank robber has used a bike as his getaway vehicle in South Burlington. In 2007 a white man wearing a clown nose held up the Northfield Savings Bank on Williston Road. He has never been caught.
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