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Despite Robbery, Grocery Store Banking Still Safer

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FAYETTEVILLE — Over the last few months, banks inside grocery stores have become the targets of robberies. The latest was this past Tuesday at the Centura inside Fayetteville's Hannaford store.

Although only the latest one has been solved, bank security officers still say doing your banking inside a store is still safer than conventional banking.

Tuesday night, police were called to a robbery at the Centura Bank. Michael Harold was one of two tellers who were robbed: Well, we're both shook up of course because me-- it being my first bank robbery. I've only been with the bank for three months. I'm 19 years old. My Marine Corps training was a little bit harder than this. I'm still a little shook up. I've got some paperwork to do. From there, we'll find out what happens.

What happened was Harold was arrested and charged in the robbery. Police say he was the inside man on a heist that involved four of his friends.

"He was a pretty cool character," Sgt. Tim Hayworth said. "He apparently had his plan pretty well down pat and seemed in total control of himself while at the scene."

So which is safer? A conventional bank or a bank inside a grocery store? Bank officials say the activity in the grocery store deters crime. Security guards in the store help as well. And although the in-store banks don't have a regular teller counter, employees are specially trained to deal with it.

Security officials say the numbers back up their beliefs. Only two Centura in-store banks have been robbed since they put them in grocery stores several years ago.