TUPPER LAKE - A year ago today, a man walked into the Community Bank on the corner of Hosley Avenue in Tupper Lake, pointed a gun at the bank tellers, made them give him lots of cash and took off on foot.
Since then, rumors have flown around Tupper Lake and surrounding area, and everyone seems to have their own theory about the identity of the bank robber.
But a year later, police have not yet made an arrest.
An unknown man is seen from a security camera robbing a Community Bank in Tupper Lake on April 10, 2009.
Investigator John Donahue said the department currently has a couple of leads in the case, but nothing that seems very promising.
Donahue heads up the team that includes Raymond Planty, the investigator in charge of the case. He said Planty has been working with other police agencies on the possibility that the Tupper Lake robbery was related to other similar cases.
"There's been a lot of robberies in the state this year," Donahue said.
Planty was on vacation this week, so details like the number of leads followed so far in the case could not be obtained.
But state police Lt. Brent Davison, Donahue's boss, said the case is certainly still open. The leads were cascading in at first but are still regular, Davison said.
"The longer it goes on, the slower it goes," he said.
Since the robbery is still being investigated by the state police Troop B's Violent Crimes Investigation Team, which covers the biggest crimes like homicides and armed robberies, the case is set aside at times when murders or other serious violent crimes happen that need immediate attention. This week, for example, the team has been in Ogdensburg working on a case in which an infant suffered a life-threatening assault, relegating the robbery to the sidelines.
"Obviously they have to put down the bank robbery investigation and go to the more serious investigation," Davison said. "It's not a case that's on the front burner."
He said that if an especially promising lead came in on the robbery, though, an investigator would be sent to work on it right away.
At the time of robbery, police described the suspect as a white male, about 6 feet and 2 inches tall and 150 pounds, wearing a hooded Carhartt-style jacket, sunglasses, blue jeans and gray sneakers. He was wearing what appeared to a fake mustache and goatee.
He entered the bank around noon that Friday with a silver handgun, demanded money and told the about six people there at the time to get on the floor.
Photos of the suspect taken with bank security cameras were passed around Tupper Lake and neighboring towns, and tips started flowing in.
Two weeks after the robbery, police released the serial numbers of nine $50 bills that were stolen and the Franklin County District Attorney's office offered a small reward to anyone who turned in one of the bills, but Donahue said that failed to turn up any new information.
Police never released the amount of money stolen in the robbery, and they continue to refuse to do so.
"Things like that we don't want to give out because it could contaminate the investigation," Davison said.
That way, if someone does know the amount that was stolen, police can be confident that the person is really a witness with more information - or the perpetrator himself.
Davison said the team would have to completely run out of leads and the case would have to be open for a very long time before it would be closed.
Contact Jessica Collier at (518) 891-2600 ext. 25 or firstname.lastname@example.org.