Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Tellers thought robber was joking – He demanded $1

Aerial view of the federal lockup at Loretto, PA

Northern Cambria, PA – If police in this coal mining town named for a geological period during the Paleozoic era know why Jeffery McMullen became angry when two tellers thought he was joking about a $1 bank robbery, they aren't telling.

The matter is the subject of an ongoing investigation.

The 50-year-old man is a regular customer at the AmericaServ branch, where he penned a note and handed it to a teller.

He demanded that federal agents take him into custody and said he preferred to be imprisoned in a federal penitentiary at Loretto, Pennsylvania.

“FBI custody. Preferbly (sic) Loretto Pa. No press. Seal all files.”

The federal correctional facility at Loretto, Pa., is described by the U.S. Bureau of Prisons as a minimum security prison located in the southwestern part of the state between Altoona and Johnstown, about 90 miles east of Pittsburgh.

The lady thought he was joking. She told him to go to the next teller at the counter. Angered, he attempted to grab money from the cash drawer when the second teller also thought he was joking.

According to an affidavit of probable cause filed by Sgt. Isaac Hassen, “He told her he would wait until police arrived.”

The teller told him she was confused, that she couldn't figure out what he wanted her to do. The officer alleged Mr. McMullen demanded $1, and that if she complied, no one would be hurt.

A third employee, this one a new accounts specialist, gave Mr. McMullen a one dollar bill she took from her purse.

As a result of all this drama, he is charged with three separate counts of bank robbery.

The affidavit of probable cause is a record of a court proceeding, and is thus a matter of public information. So is the offense report and the report of Mr. McMullen's arrest.

At his arraignment, District Judge Michael Zungali ordered a mental exam for Mr. McMullen and set his bond at $50,000. He has scheduled a preliminary hearing, but noted it may be postponed pending the mental examination.

A report in the Johnstown “Tribune-Democrat” noted that according to on-line records, Mr. McMullen has never before been arrested. The warden of the County Prison said he has never been locked up there.

Witness statements, the results of the mental exam, and other “work product” of the investigation into why Mr. McMullen requested his arrest by FBI agents are unavailable to the public, as are fingerprint comparisons, ballistic reports, chemical analyses, and records of polygraph examinations.

According to “The Old Farmer's Almanac,” the next occurrence of a full moon in October of 2012, which in Indian lore is known as The Full Hunter's Moon, the Travel Moon, and the Dying Grass Moon, will occur on October 29 at 3:49 p.m.

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