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Downtown Bagdad came to a standstill early Thursday morning when a masked man wielding a semi-automatic handgun walked into the Citizens Union Bank branch and told employees that he wanted cash and was leaving behind a box that contained an explosive device.
Shelby County Sheriff’s Det. Jason Rice said deputies responded to a robbery alarm around 9:30 a.m. and learned from bank employees that the man had described the box.
Officers secured the city, evacuated some nearby businesses and waited through the morning to see if there was an explosive in the box.
“The scene was secured and evacuated until determination was made by a bomb technician that the scene was safe and secure,” Rice said in a statement he E-mailed to The Sentinel-News. “Once secure, investigators collected statements and evidence. “
Bagdad Fire Chief Rusty Newton told The Sentinel-News that his department had set up a command center near the bank and was prepared in case it was needed.
Rice said the suspect fled the bank with an undisclosed amount of money – moving south, it was thought – and he remained at large as of Thursday evening.
The sheriff’s office released two security-camera photos from the bank showing the suspect entering and approaching a teller.
Rice descried him as a white male, 20 to 30 years of age, 5-foot-7 to 5-9 with a slender to average build.
He was wearing a black jacket, a gray, hooded sweatshirt and black mask that covered his nose and mouth area. He was also wearing black pants and brown work boots. The gun was described as black.
Rice asks that anyone with any information about the robbery call him at 502-633-4324.
Sentinel-News Staff Writer Lisa King contributed to this report.