New Tag Readers and Good Old Fashioned Police Work Lead to Arrest of PNC Bank Robber

May 21, 2019
Donald Edward Rankin, 63 of Lexington Park

Donald Edward Rankin, 63 of Lexington Park

On Thursday, May 9, 2019, the Calvert County Control Center dispatched deputies from the Calvert County Sheriff’s Office to the PNC Bank on Jennifer Lane in Owings for a bank robbery in progress.

Deputies arrived on scene and made contact with three female employees who told police that at approximately 10:05 am.., a white male between the age of 50 years old and 70 years old came into the bank lobby displayed a gun and demanded money. One employee described the weapon as a black and silver semi-automatic handgun. They described the suspect as, over 6 feet tall and had a medium build, wearing a red and black plaid shirt, camouflage baseball style hat with “USMC” on the front, an orange bandana tied around his mouth and nose, reflective sunglasses, blue jeans, white tennis shoes, black and white work gloves, and carrying a black backpack with blue trim.

Once inside the lobby of the bank, the suspect confronted a bank clerk and demanded that she retrieve the money from drawers behind the bank counter. The clerk stated that she was scared, and she attempted three times to enter the combination to the safe, however, she was unsuccessful and as a result, was locked out of the safe. This angered the suspect and he threatened to kill her. She then told him that she could get money from another area.

The gunman was able to get $3,400.00 in cash from another drawer and place it in his backpack.

The suspect told Theresa that if he heard police coming, he would kill her. The suspect then exited the lobby of the bank and fled on foot in the area east of the bank towards the rear parking lots.

At the time of the dispatch, a deputy was parked directly across the street from PNC at the library and stated he saw the suspect flee the scene on foot and run east in the direction of the rear parking lots behind PNC. The deputy drove across the street and attempted to locate the suspect; however, he was unsuccessful. The deputy noticed a white Chevrolet pick-up truck leaving the area onto Fowler Road, and attempted to pursue the vehicle, however, he was unable to locate it
onto Fowler Road.

The Criminal Investigations Bureau obtained video surveillance from numerous businesses in the area.

Police showed a picture of the suspect from video surveillance to business owner nearby and he stated that he saw the suspect parked in the parking lot of Choice Floor Center the day before. The suspect was parked in a parking spot that enabled him to view the PNC Bank. That witness said the suspect was operating a newer model white pick-up truck with “War of 1812” tags on the rear of the vehicle and a Bayside Chevrolet placard on the front of the vehicle.

Police were able to acquire video surveillance and described the truck as a newer model, white Chevrolet pick-up truck with a single cab and an 8-foot bed.

As the investigation, continued, police learned a License Plate Reader at Route 4 at the North county line around the time of the robbery captured a photo of a vehicle described as a white Chevrolet pick-up truck with a single cab and an 8-foot bed, bearing a Maryland vehicle tag. Police learned the tags on the suspect vehicle were reported stolen from Prince Georges County the day before.

On May 17, 2019, police went to the Bayside Chevrolet dealership in Prince Frederick and showed the picture taken of the suspect vehicle from the license plate reader camera to an employee who stated that she remembered the truck in an ad for either their St. Mary’s or their Waldorf locations. The truck was unique because it had black and white stripes in the bed of the truck.

Police then went to Bayside Kia of Waldorf and conducted a data search of the vehicle from the ad and located a vehicle described as a white 2015 Chevrolet Silverado Cl5OO with black and white stripes in the bed. An employee told police that because the black and white stripes in the bed is unique to any other truck they have ever sold. Furthermore, the photo of the suspect vehicle shows open bed ports in the bed of the truck, and the ports are usually closed, however, they can be punched out if someone were to add attachments such as the metal tool boxes.

The dealership was able to provide police with the name of Donald Edward Rankin, 63 of Lexington Park, as the person who purchased the vehicle.

Police also learned that an address Rankin is known to reside at was 2.7 miles away from where the stolen tags were allegedly taken from in Prince Georges County.

Detectives and members of the warrant apprehension unit located Rankin at a hotel in Prince George’s County on May 18, 2019, where he was taken into custody without incident.

Rankin was processed and charged with the following:
• THEFT: $1,500 TO UNDER $25,