2009-12-24 / Local & State

Envelope, Cash Probed In Pa. Robbery

By Joe Mandak ASSOCIATED PRESS WRITER

PITTSBURGH (AP) _ No good deed goes unpunished _ especially one that only partially undoes a bank robbery.

That’s why FBI agents in Pittsburgh are scouring an envelope filled with bubblewrapped stacks of money mailed to a southwestern Pennsylvania bank that agents believe is most of the money taken in a robbery there last week.

“We cannot definitively narrow it down that it was bank robbery loot,’’ said Special Agent Jeff Killeen of the Pittsburgh FBI office, “but there’s no other reason to return it.’’

Killeen said the money received Monday in the padded manila envelope at the PNC Bank in West Newton amounts to about 80 percent of the amount taken by a robber who handed a note to a teller, demanding money on Dec. 9. The bank is about 25 miles southeast of Pittsburgh. PNC Bank officials said they don’t comment on robberies.

“This is definitely the first time I’ve ever seen, in more than 25 years of being with the FBI, someone give back money they’ve stolen,’’ Killeen said, though he acknowledges the FBI has yet to prove it.

It’s possible someone close to the robber returned the money instead. No matter, agents are examining the envelope and money for clues – though Killeen wouldn’t say Thursday what tests are being run.

Among potential clues, FBI agents could seek fingerprints, perhaps find a hair shed by the person who mailed it, or even obtain DNA from whoever licked the stamps, Killeen said.

“Those are the kinds of things that can be done. Anybody who watches ‘CSI: Miami’ or ‘CSI: Dayton, Ohio’ – there’s so many CSIs out there – the magic of DNA is a positive thing for us,’’ Killeen said.

Yet investigators believe they’re more likely to find the robber if somebody recognizes him in a series of surveillance photos released to the media. “Someone has to know him; someone has to know who he is,’’ Killeen said.

The crime carries up to 20 years in prison if authorities determine he had a weapon, or 10 years if he didn’t, said Acting U.S. Attorney Richard Cessar.

“You can’t unrob a bank. That’s the best way to put it,’’ Cessar said. “And the return of the money doesn’t negate the crime, but potentially could be a factor that a judge would consider at sentencing.’’

Killeen said the FBI is also working with U.S. Postal Inspectors to determine when and where the package was postmarked. Agents believe the robber was local because he was wearing a yellow Pittsburgh Steelers T-shirt.

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