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Bank robber described by authorities

A man brandishing a small-caliber handgun robbed a SunTrust Bank branch late Monday morning and fled into a wooded area on the north side of Thomson.

No one was reported injured. The amount stolen was not disclosed.

The man was described as 5 feet 9 inches to 6 feet tall and weighing between 165 and 175 pounds. He wore a long-sleeve pullover, blue jeans, white tennis shoes and gloves. He also wore a mask similar to the Power Rangers TV show characters, according to Thomson Police Chief Joseph D. Nelson.

Thomson police rushed to the scene at 658 Main St. after 11 a.m. They were joined by McDuffie County Sheriff Logan Marshall, agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and K-9 units from the Columbia County Sheriff's Office.

Nelson said the GBI is conducting the continuing investigation.

The bank branch remained closed after police left the scene about 2:05 p.m.

Thomson K-9 officer Sgt. Jamie Smith and his dog Angus searched a grassy area and a section of Martin Luther King Jr. Street separating the bank from the strip of stores next to Walmart but were unable to pick up a trail. K-9 trackers from the Columbia County Sheriff's Office arrived for backup but were not called into duty.

Investigators walked and drove through the adjacent residential neighborhood and thicket for about two hours after the robbery.

A restaurant, barbershop, real estate office, attorney's office and other businesses in the vicinity remained open.

Customers drove up to the bank, even crossing the yellow police tape, asking whether the bank was open.

An elderly man carrying a Social Security envelope was directed to another SunTrust branch about a mile south on Main Street.

A $500 reward is offered for anyone providing information leading to the arrest and conviction of the robber. Contact the Thomson Police Department or GBI with information.

Web posted on Thursday, April 07, 2011

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