Local News

Miscommunication Leads Durham Police To Surround Bank

Posted August 15, 2001

— There was a lot of commotion at the Wachovia on Chapel Hill Boulevard in Durham Wednesday afternoon, but ultimately it turned out that an allegedly bad check and bad information led to a big misunderstanding. Police thought they had a bank robbery, and put Rogers-Herr Middle School on lockdown, but what they found was more chaos than crime.

Traffic was blocked in every direction, and police were crouched behind cars with guns drawn. Instead of a bank robbery, though, a couple allegedly passed a suspected stolen check to a teller on the bottom floor of the bank.

"While she was away from the person for a minute, she called another teller upstairs and told her to call the police, and then hung up without telling her what the problem was," said Lt. Ed Sarvis of the Durham Police Department.

The other teller called 911 and reported a robbery, which set off the misinformed reaction.

Rogers-Herr Middle School was locked down, making parents wait to get their children.

"I was really worried because there is so much going on. My main concern was my kids," said Mary Gibbs.

"I was ready to go home. I was hungry," said sixth-grader Ashley Gibbs.

The bank did not reopen Wednesday but will reopen Thursday. The woman who allegedly passed the stolen check was arrested, but her male companion has not been found.

Photographer:

Greg Clark

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