FBI investigating Norcross armed bank robbery

NORCROSS - Local law enforcement is assisting the FBI in the investigation of a Friday morning armed robbery at a bank in Norcross.

Cpl. Darren Moloney, spokesman for the Gwinnett County Police Department, said at about 8 a.m. Friday an armed suspect walked into the Associated Credit Union at 1470 Beaver Ruin Road in Norcross and forced bank employees into the vault.

There were no reports of shots fired, and no one was injured in the incident.

The suspect left with an undisclosed amount of money in a stolen car, Moloney said.

FBI spokesman Stephen Emmett said the car, a newer model Saturn, belonged to a bank employee and was later recovered near Gwinnett Place Mall.

As of Friday evening, no suspects had been arrested, and the only description available was that the man was black, Moloney said.

The suspect was captured in the act via a security camera at the bank.

Emmett would not disclose any details, as the investigation is ongoing.

"We're looking at all the witness statements and all the evidence, which includes the recovery of the ... car," Emmett said.

According to a federal statute, the FBI can investigate any bank robbery if the bank is FDIC insured, Emmett said.

"We've had to try to tailor our resources to those that are involving a weapon," Emmett said.

Emmett said the bureau has seen a spike in recent bank robberies, and some of these incidents could be attributed to the holidays being just around the corner.

From Jan. 1 to Oct. 26, there have been 164 bank robberies in the metro Atlanta area, and a total of 228 statewide, according to an FBI press release.

Sixty-six of the robberies involved weapons. From Jan. 1 to Oct. 26, 2005, there were 116 bank robberies in metro Atlanta, with a total of

162 statewide.

"A number of these cases involve individuals who are young with either little or no prior criminal records," Emmett said in a press release. "We are also seeing a number of females involved and are noting that the amount of violence involved is up from previous years."

There were 222 and 280 bank robberies statewide in 2004 and 2003 respectively, according to the release.