Robber holds hostage at gunpoint at Lake Worth bank

By Juan Carlos Fanjul - bio | email

WEST PALM BEACH, FL (WFLX) - A local man was taken hostage by a bank robber. He is now re-telling his terror. The PNC Bank has been closed all day since the bank robbery Wednesday morning.

For one bank customer, it was quite a surprise when the gunman took him hostage as he was going in to the bank.

David Perry of West Palm Beach will never forget this particular trip to the bank. "[I] stepped out of my car, onto the sidewalk, noticed this guy coming from the other direction with, you know, a rubber old-man mask on, wearing a windbreaker."

"He drew a gun," Perry continued, "and in no uncertain terms required me to go with him into the bank."

Perry says he knew it would not be smart to try to resist. "He escorted me. His left hand was on me. His right hand had the gun drawn and shoving me into the bank where he proceeded to tell people be still, not move, give him all the money."

Perry says it was tense -- the man waving a gun in the bank lobby. "He would, uh you know, to get people's attention, threaten to shoot me, put the gun to my head, had it right here a few times. So I was just trying to be careful. I was saying things like, 'Be calm, you're gonna get what you need. Don't worry about it. No reason to hurt anybody here.'"

He says this went on for about five minutes. There were several other customers in there, and also a half-dozen bank employees. At one point, a teller handed him some cash. You know, you're always surprised. One part of my head is thinking this guy's kind of an amateur, and I don't really feel threatened. Um, I could probably wrestle him down. And then the other part of my brain is saying are you crazy? Don't do that. Just let it go. He's not gonna hurt anybody. It'll be over in a couple of minutes."

The bank robber finally ran out. Perry just feels lucky it ended with no one getting hurt. "The gun looked pretty real to me. He was pointing it at everybody, including me. I felt it on my head, so yeah, I was a little nervous."

The robber is 5'9 to 5'11 with a thin to medium build. He appeared to be white or Hispanic and wore a baseball cap and a "Scream"-type Halloween mask.

Investigators say the man got about $1,300. PNC Bank is offering a $25,000 reward.

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