Banks Take Precautions to Prevent Robberies

By Rachel Martin

August 29, 2012 Updated Aug 29, 2012 at 10:12 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana’s NewsCenter) – A recent kidnapping of a credit union employee that led to a robbery is enough to put other banks on high alert. Now, they could be taking serious security precautions.

Fort Wayne police say they’ve made no arrests in the incident, but there is a special multi-agency task force, made up of special detectives from FWPD, the Allen County Sheriffs Department, and the FBI, investigating the crime.

Police say what happened Monday night is not a typical bank robbery. Usually, robbers target banks at opening and closing times, or during business hours.

“This is different. Someone has been followed to their home, they’ve been held captive and then returned to that financial institution. You’re looking at enhanced criminal charges,” said Officer Raquel Foster, Public Information Officer for FWPD.

Monday night the manager of Freedom Financial Credit Union on Inwood Drive, walked in her home to find two masked men waiting for her. The men tied her up and blindfolded her, then drove the woman in her own car to the credit union to rob the place.

“What we do know is that credit union is small and isolated, and if anyone were to conduct surveillance and keep track of the comings and goings of the employees and customers, it would be fairly easy to do.”

Foster says things like time-lock safes, dye packs, and GPS systems are great security measures, but perhaps the best measure is a high-resolution surveillance camera where robbers can easily be identified.

“We know that our bank robbers will continue. When they are successful they will continue to target other banks. When we clear, or make an apprehension, we're actually clearing multiple investigations,” she said.

Foster says another great security measure is the GPS tracking system.

“If they’ve got that GPS tacking system in place, we’re able to start looking for suspects shortly after the crime has occurred.”

However, Foster thinks banks that do their own surveillance and report suspicious people, vehicles, and activity, increases their security.

“We do believe that many of those calls have prevented that financial institution from becoming a victim of what could’ve been a robbery, so we encourage those telephone calls,” said Foster.

Despite the advancements in technology, Foster says surveillance cameras are still the tool of choice, if they’re working properly. Foster stresses the importance of updating the cameras and changing the tapes often. She says being able to recognize things on the tapes are how they are best able to catch suspects.

“We have disseminated images from video surveillance from robberies and the public is wonderful at that. They identify suspect and they’re actually helping us to take these individuals off the street.”

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