HERMON — St. Lawrence County sheriff’s detectives are still on the hunt for an armed and dangerous man suspected of holding up Community Bank, N.A. on Church Street and are seeking the public’s assistance in finding him.
At 12:53 p.m., a white male armed with a silver handgun wearing a dark-blue Carhartt hooded sweatshirt with the word “Carhartt” in white letters down the left sleeve, blue jeans, white sneakers, and a black cloth mask over his face robbed the bank, at 111 Church St. Detectives said the man demanded money be placed in a black backpack and fled on foot in a northerly direction towards Main Street.
The Sheriff’s office is asking for the public’s help in identifying this individual, he is to be considered armed and should not be approached. Anyone with information regarding this individual is being asked to contact the sheriff’s office at 315-379-2222.
In the hours following the robbery, state police had portions of Church Street blocked off, at Miles and Russell roads on the south-side of the village; at Main and Water streets on the east side of the village; and Canton and Thatcher streets on the north side of the village; but on the west side, a Times staff photographer was able to access the downtown area.
He said the perimeter of the bank is taped off with yellow crime scene tape.
A police presence was also seen on Catherine Street with officers on foot, doing a controlled perimeter of the area surrounding the bank, and at Main and High streets officers were seen stopping vehicles and directing them around the village.
St. Lawrence County Sheriff Kevin M. Wells, his detectives and deputies are at the scene and are leading the investigation. State Department of Environmental Conservation Police Officers are also at the scene.
This is not the first time this bank has been robbed.
On July 21, 2009, James E. Russ, then 24, of 2145 County Route 21, stole about $2,400 from the bank after he showed a teller a gun tucked into his waistband and demanded money. He never pulled the weapon, but it wasn’t recovered.
Community Bank offered a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person responsible.
Mr. Russ was arrested days later, on Aug. 1, 2009, after he was convinced by his father to confess to the crime.
He was sentenced Sept. 13, 2010 to six years in state prison for the robbery and burglarizing several homes in the Canton area, telling the judge his burglary spree and the bank robbery were fueled by a drug addiction.
Sheriff’s Detective Sgt. Thomas H. Caringi told the Times Thursday afternoon that Mr. Russ was initially a suspect until he contacted St. Lawrence County jail, Canton, and found that he was being held there on burglary charges.