Shoppers don’t notice as bank branch robbed

By Cynthia M. Jeffries

Daily Journal

A man robbed a bank branch in a Tupelo grocery store Thursday afternoon without any of store’s customers noticing what was going on.

Peoples Bank & Trust Co. inside the Kroger Food Store at 930 Barnes Crossing Road was held up about 1:30 p.m. The robber made off with an undisclosed amount of cash.

Three employees and one customer were at the counter when the man walked up and handed a note to a cashier demanding money. After getting the money, he left.

The suspect is described as a white male between the age of 30 and 40 with a short hairstyle. At the time of the robbery, the suspect was wearing a dark-colored cap, a dark shirt and dark sunglasses.

Workers and customers in the store said they didn’t realize the branch had been robbed until they saw several blue-and-white police cars scurrying to the scene.

“Nobody knew it had happened,” said John Martin, a Kroger grocery store bagger.

John Smith, president and CEO of the Tupelo-based bank, said security systems have been updated since 1994 at all branches. Employees are frequently trained on what to do in bank robbery situations, Smith said, and the banks has upgraded its security camera.

The small bank branch, which consist of one office and a counter with about four computer terminals, has been in the Kroger for three and a half years, since the grocery store opened.

Tupelo Police Detective Bryan Jones dusted the area for fingerprints Thursday while the bank’s employees counted money and secured the area.

Thursday’s robbery was the second to occur in Northeast Mississippi this year. The Barnes Crossing/Kroger branch was the fourth Peoples bank to be robbed in the last 18 months.

Since 1994, nine banks in Northeast Mississippi have been robbed and one has been burglarized. Arrests have been made in connection with four of the robberies. Officials do not believe all of the robberies are connected.

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