Clovis bank robber remains at large

By Sharna Johnson: Freedom Writer

Surveillance footage from Friday’s Clovis bank robbery did not produce a viable image of the suspect, according to Bill Elwell, special agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Albuquerque office.

Lt. Roger Grah of the Clovis Police Department also said no new information surfaced over the weekend to draw officials any closer to the suspect.

But officials said they remain optimistic about an arrest.
“We’ve had cases where we haven’t had a shred of evidence and then we get a break,” Elwell said.

Forensic evidence, community tips and other developments can quickly turn an investigation around and identify a suspect, Elwell said.

The branch of the New Mexico Bank & Trust at Hilltop Plaza shopping center was robbed just before 11 a.m. Friday. A man placed a device on the counter and told clerks it was a bomb; he then calmly walked out the front door with a bag containing an undisclosed amount of money.

Witnesses to the robbery described him as a slender white male around 6-foot-2, between 30 and 40 years old with dark hair.
He wore a baseball cap with blond dreadlocks sewn into it, one witness said.

The bomb scare subsequently closed down the shopping center for more than two hours until members of the Cannon Explosive Ordnance Disposal team determined the device to be non-explosive, according to police.

Bank clerks were able to slip “bait” money into the stolen cash as they were gathering the money at the robber’s demand, according to a police report filed Friday.

“Bait” money is cash where the serial numbers have been pre-recorded, Elwell said. Most banks keep bait money on hand. The cash is unaltered and undetectable, but the numbers are entered into the National Crime Information Center’s database and can be referenced by law enforcement, Elwell said.
Often money will turn up in unusual ways that attracts attention in the weeks or months following a robbery, he said.