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The FBI and Los Alamos Police Department are looking for a woman who robbed Los Alamos National Bank, 77 Rover Blvd., in White Rock this afternoon.
The suspect is described as a Hispanic or Native American female in her late 20s or early 30s, approximately 5-feet-4 and weighing about 150 pounds.
She may have a scar or tattoo below her left eye.
The suspect wore a black jacket over a black hoodie and a gray hoodie. She also had on winter gloves. Frank Fisher from the FBI public affairs office in Albuquerque said no weapon was seen during the robbery.
Witnesses say the suspect entered the bank shortly before 1:30 p.m. and demanded money from a teller.
The teller gave an undisclosed amount of money to the suspect, who put the money in a plastic grocery bag and left the bank.
Anyone with information about this bank robbery is asked to call the Albuquerque FBI Office at (505) 889-1300 (24 hours) or LAPD, (505) 662-8222.
Bank robbery is punishable by a 20-year prison sentence for each offense, and the penalty increases if a dangerous weapon is used in the commission of the crime.
LAPD was first on the scene and then the FBI was called in.
While the police swarmed the area, Los Alamos Public Schools Chief Financial officer John Wolfe said that Pinon and Chamisa Elementary Schools were in a lockdown mode this afternoon.
"We were contacted by police and they said there was a bank robbery and they were looking for a suspect," Wolfe said. "We put a shelter in place and we are having parents pick up their children at school."
According to the Pinon Elementary School website, “both Chamisa and Pinon will keep students in school until parents/guardians pick them up this afternoon. In cooperation with the local police, we are following this procedure as a safety precaution as they continue their investigation of a bank robbery suspect (s) potentially in the area.
Police patrols have been beefed up in the area around the schools and increased police presence at the schools while parents pick up their children.”
Principal Debbie Smith said there are 270 children at Chamisa and only eight of them take the bus.
“Everyone has been really good. As a precaution, Pinon and Chamisa decided to release the children to their parents because we have so many children who walk home. We are just doing this s an extra safety precaution.”
Raymond Roybal, a Chamisa parent, arrived at school to pick up his child.
“It’s crazy here in White Rock,” Roybal said. “I guess we are living in a different world now.”
Another parent Delaney Rieke, who had two children attending Chamisa and another at Pinon, said, “There was some extra security measures but I didn’t mind jumping through some extra hoops. Better to be safe than sorry.”
Sandra Sorensen, the director of Sage Cottage Day Care located across the street from LANB, said, “I was surprised, being here with all these children was very disconcerting. They are currently on lockdown and have been on lockdown ever since this started at 2 p.m.”
Sorensen said she first noticed something was wrong when the police pulled up across the street.
So why was the FBI called?
According to its website, the FBI has had a primary role in bank robbery investigations since the 1930s, when John Dillinger and his gang were robbing banks and capturing the public’s imagination. In 1934, it became a federal crime to rob any national bank or state member bank of the Federal Reserve. The law soon expanded to include bank burglary, larceny, and similar crimes, with jurisdiction delegated to the FBI. Now, as then, the FBI works alongside local law enforcement in bank robbery cases.