LEBANON, Pa. (AP) - Four would-be bank robbers hung around in the parking
lot too long and found the bank closed when they tried to hit it, police
The Harrisburg men also managed to arouse the suspicions of a customer
and wound up in jail facing charges including conspiracy and attempted
robbery. They have denied the charges and attributed them to racial
A customer at the Fredericksburg First National Bank in North Lebanon
Township noticed the gray car, in part because it had orange wheels and
parked in a handicapped space, police said.
He also thought there was something strange about the four men staring
the bank, wearing heavy coats and ski caps on a 65-degree day. So, after
finishing his banking, he parked nearby to keep an eye on them.
Three of the men wearing ski caps walked to the entrance while the fourth
remained in the driver's seat, court documents said. The men tried to open
the door of the bank and enter.
Unfortunately for them, it was 12:02 p.m. on a Saturday, and the bank
Finding the door locked, the men returned to the car and took off. The
man who was watching phoned police and the four were pulled over a short
time later - but police found that the car had a different license plate.
They found the license plate with the number reported by the bank customer
in the trunk.
Also in the car, police found ski masks, cotton hats with eye holes cut
out, rubber latex gloves, dark clothing and jackets, screwdrivers, homemade
knives and a baseball bat, court documents said.
"With the items they had in the vehicle and the way they were dressed,
believe it was their intent to rob the bank," said Sgt. John P. Leahy of
North Lebanon Township police.
Police would not say if the men were carrying any of the items found
their car when they approached the bank.
Charged were Shawn M. Powell, 19, Kyle Lamont Lutrell, 19, Arthur Lee
Forney Jr., 18, and Michael Frazier, 18. All except Frazier have criminal
records, Leahy said.
Each is charged with three counts of criminal conspiracy to commit a
robbery, and three counts of attempted robbery, among other things. All
taken to Lebanon County prison on $100,000 bail each. A preliminary hearing
was set for Friday morning before District Justice Nigel Foundling.
While waiting for arraignment before District Justice Christine Heck,
defendants denied the charges and said they believe they were arrested
because they are black.
"Strictly profiling," Forney said. "What heavy coat? I wasn't even
wearing a coat."
Powell said the four got lost while driving in Lebanon County and went
the bank to ask directions to the mall.