An attempted bank robbery that mushroomed into a hostage-taking ended peacefully Thursday night with the suspect's surrender at a bank in Canton Township, police said.
"Everyone's safe and there are no injuries," Canton Deputy Police Director Chad Baugh said, adding that the suspect "surrendered to police with no force."
After being surrounded by police for hours at the Citizens Bank branch on Canton Center Road near Cherry Hill, the suspect released two hostages at 6:30 p.m. and a third shortly after, then was taken into custody at about 7:45 p.m. without incident, according to police. All of the hostages were bank employees, police said.
Police said the suspect had tried to rob the bank at about 3:30 p.m., then barricaded himself inside with the three employees as police arrived on the scene. Officers surrounded the bank and began diverting traffic away from the area, closing that segment of Canton Center Road during the Thursday's afternoon rush hours, while the Western-Wayne Special Operations Team spent hours negotiating for the release of the hostages, police spokeswoman Barb Caruso said.
Canton Deputy Police Chief Craig Wilsher said no shots were fired and no injuries reported. Police said the man had been armed with a handgun.
Police believe he acted alone.
"We have no information at this time that there was more than one suspect," Baugh said.
The situation at the bank was tense.
"We are praying," Canton Township Supervisor Pat Williams said early on.
The incident marked the second bank robbery in Canton in eight days, but Baugh said police couldn't yet say if the two were related.
Soon after the incident began in mid afternoon, authorities cut power to the bank — one of the tactics aimed at pressuring the suspect to surrender, police said.
Wilsher had said police didn't know immediately whether the suspect may have been involved in another bank robbery that occurred about 4 p.m. Jan. 18 at the Huntington Bank branch on Michigan Avenue, east of Beck.
In that robbery, a masked gunman, described as a white male in his 30s, brandished a gun, demanded money from a teller and escaped with an undisclosed amount of cash.
A $20,000 reward is being offered by Huntington Bank for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the suspect.
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