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Deputies help Florida tellers prepare for heists
TAMPA, Fla. (9/8/09)--Sheriffs’ deputies in Pasco County, Fla., formed a coalition to help prepare tellers at credit unions and other financial institutions in the area to deal with attempted robberies. The Financial Institution Security Coalition of Pasco County staged a robbery Wednesday at Suncoast Schools FCU in Tampa, Fla., to show about 40 area financial-institution employees how to respond to armed robbers who wear disguises, wave weapons and yell out demands (Tampa Tribune Sept. 4). Since the coalition’s inception 18 months ago, the sheriffs’ major crimes division has regularly met with area financial institutions, coalition spokesman Kevin Doll told the newspaper. “We prepare them about what to look out for,” Doll told the paper. “When it happens, a lot of times [the teller] is in shock about being robbed, so when [law enforcement] asks them questions later, they don't know what to tell you. We’ve had suspects go from white to black, male to female. Of course, some of that is due to the disguises [robbers] wear.” There are three basic types of financial-institution robbers, Sheriff’s Sgt. Jim Sessa told the paper. Those who wear disguises, those who use weapons and “the note passer”--which is the most common in the Pasco area, he added. Employees who are taught a procedure and told what to look for in a robbery situation will have more confidence and be able to give authorities more factual and useful information, Sessa told the paper. Technological advances and working with the Federal Bureau of Investigation have helped the sheriff’s office solve more financial-institution robberies, he added.
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