FORT WAYNE, Ind. (www.incnow.tv) --- Countering a frightening new threat posed by bank and credit union thieves.
Two times this month, employees of local financial institutions were targets of home invasions by crooks looking for a "cash grab" after the businesses had closed for the day.
A former Fort Wayne bank administrator, who didn’t want to be identified for this story, told us she knows firsthand about the emotional toll related to bank robbery.
“You know I struggled day-to-day, even my bosses, they saw that I was struggling," the woman said.
The one-time branch manager spent 15 years in the banking business.
But the day she'll never forget is when robbers stormed in her branch, jumped the counter, and shoved her face into the floor while they held up the place.
" It was frightening. I had bruises on my body, and I mean, I even had to go get treated, because of the trauma it did to me mentally."
It’s a nerve-wracking time for people on the payrolls of local financial institutions.
April 3rd, a worker at the Pinnacle Credit Union on Hobson Road was followed home after hours, abducted, and then forced to return to let the crooks into the vault.
Then on Monday of this week, a bank employee came back to her McClellan Street home, where crooks were waiting for her.
They tied her and a male companion up, and demanded keys to the bank.
But the male victim got free and the suspects bolted.
City police believe it's a ring of thieves, operating like career criminals.
" They have masterminded this plan. They were unsuccessful the other evening, so it's likely they will attempt again," said city officer Raquel Foster.
Banks and credit unions may need to change security practices, so abducting individual employees no longer pays off.
" Whether it may be that it takes two people with a code to go through the door, or the financial institution just plain goes under a timer, and you can't even open the doors til 8 a.m., or whatever it may be," said the former branch manager that we interviewed.
City police are urging employees of financial institutions to be on guard when they leave work, keeping watch for suspicious vehicles that might be tailing them, because their fear of robbery now doesn't stop when they punch out at night.
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