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Bank Robbery on Lee Highway Prompts School Lockdowns

by ARLnow.com June 16, 2011 at 2:22 pm 6,575 31 Comments

The BB&T Bank at 5515 Lee Highway was robbed around lunchtime today.

The suspect fled the bank on foot, prompting authorities to lock down at least two schools in the area. Parents of Nottingham Elementary and Williamsburg Middle School students received the following message from administrators today.

Today at approximately 12:20 p.m. we were alerted by the Arlington Police about a bank robbery nearby at Lee Highway and Harrison Street. The suspect reportedly left the bank on foot.

As a precaution, the schools “secured the building,” which means all students came indoors from recess, PE or other outside activities. At the same time, we made plans for students to either remain securely in the relocatables or to move into the main building. All exterior doors were locked and classes continued inside. Approximately 30 minutes later, the Police called again to give us the “all clear” and we resumed normal operations.

This is the third reported robbery of a BB&T Bank so far this year. BB&T branches in Rosslyn and Clarendon have been robbed over of the course of the past six months.

Update at 3:55 p.m. — Arlington Public Schools spokesman Frank Bellavia says that the response to the incident did not meet the school system’s definition of a “lock-down,” in which classrooms are locked. Rather, the APS student handbook defines the actions taken today as a “secure the building” response.

Update at 6:55 p.m. — Arlington County Police have issued a press release about the robbery, after the jump. Photos of the suspect are available here.

The Arlington County Police Department’s Robbery Unit is seeking the public’s help to identify a man who robbed an Arlington bank this afternoon.

The suspect entered the BB&T Bank in the 5500 block of Lee Highway at approximately 12:19 p.m. on Thursday, June 16, 2011. He displayed a note demanding money, and implied a weapon. After receiving cash, the suspect fled on foot.

The suspect is described as a white male with gray hair between 50 and 60 years old, 6 foot tall and 180 lbs. At the time of the robbery he wore a baseball cap, glasses, a blue and white plaid button down shirt and khaki pants. This robbery and suspect description are similar to the bank robbery that occurred on June 6, 2011.

Anyone who has information about this robbery or the identity of the suspect is asked to call the Arlington County Police Department Tip Line at 703 228-4242, or Detective Donald Fortunato at (703) 228-4197. Det. Fortunato can also be reached by email at [email protected]

  • Stu Pendus

    That’s my bank! Used to be First Virginia.

  • Dan

    Probably was in retribution for one of the rude tellers who work there….

  • Loocy

    Yes! My very first bank account was there, at First Virginia. And we liked to go to the drive-through teller with my mom because they always put lollipops in with the money:)

  • Teacher

    Does anyone know why Yorktown, which is much closer to the bank, was not in locktdown too?

    • Betts

      I think Yorktown was locked down too. I’m not on their schooltalk list so I can’t tell you if they sent out the message, but they may have.

      • Teacher

        Nope, they weren’t in lockdown. I know for a fact. I teach at one of the schools that was in lockdown.

        • Teacher2

          I teach at Yorktown and if we were in a “secure the building mode” they sure forgot to tell me.

    • Stu Pendus

      Good question. And Swanson is closer to the bank than Williamsburg.

      • Betts

        Just confirmed this on SchoolTalk — the message was sent to Yorktown as well as Nottingham and Williamsburg. And the Williamsburg student who just came home told me that it wasn’t a lockdown like last year, where they huddled in rooms away from the doors and windows, they just had to stay inside.

        • Betts

          So the same directive went out to Yorktown.

          • Stu Pendus

            Maybe they saw the robber flee in a certain direction. Because like I said, after Yorktown and Nottingham, Swanson is the next closest school.

  • Lou

    Does the all-clear mean that they caught him?

    Remember last year when a bank robber ran onto the field at Williamsburg and was shot by police. Scary times.

  • PotentialSlacker

    Amen Dan.

    No mention if the robber used a gun, but the schools played it safe just in case…it’s for the children!

  • Heaven


    • PotentialSlacker

      Thank you Heaven 😉

      Couldn’t figure out how to do it…

  • SoCo Resident

    Gettin scary. Am so afraid someone will get hurt in one of these because, obviously, these brazen daytime robbers are desperate.

    Thank heavens for our fine, professional police officers!!

    • Burger

      Um…how many bank robberies do you know about occur at night?

      • SD


    • BerryBerryCold

      Maybe they just have a beef with BB&T?

  • CrystalMikey

    Wow…another one?

    • Burger

      Someone clearly has a grudge against BBT. I’d guess the one on Lee highway and Washington is next.

      • PhilL

        I bank at the BB&T on Wisconsin in Georgetown, and they had an armored car robbed in front of their bank about a year ago. Not inside the actual branch, but still, BB&T related.

  • Jeff

    That would be 4 BB&T banks robbed in Arlington recently if you include the one on South Glebe Rd on Dec 14, 2010.

  • Susan

    Actually BB&T at 3001 Washington Blvd in Clarendon was robbed on June 6.

  • johnn b

    i think BB&T is the most robbed bank around here…definitely has been lately.

    maybe if they got rid of this sign (and policy) the robbers might think twice about going in:

  • pat

    I live nearby and police had Lexington south of Lee Highway blocked. Police cars and motorcycles slowing driving the streets and a police dog sniffing around. Seems like they knew his general direction – I didn’t stick around to see if the guy was caught.

  • charlie

    something just went down in Baileys Crossroads, which, in case you don’t know, is on the edge of Arlington….

  • SD

    This doesn’t help Arlington’s ranking on the best places to raise kids for next year!

  • PhilT

    Swanson had some sort of lockdown yesterday. At least two K-9 units in the school.

    • ArlTeacher

      The one at Swanson was a planned lockdown practice – had nothing to do with the bank robbery.

  • Ginger Snap

    I will continue to use the drive thru @ BB&T!!. Much safer…


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