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Bank robbery suspect arrested

Man accused of robbing Wells Fargo flees scene in taxicab

POSTED: March 19, 2011 1:41 a.m.
SARA GUEVARA/The Times

Investigators and officers with Gainesville Police Department responded to a bank robbery at Wells Fargo at the corner of Browns Bridge Road and Pearl Nix Parkway.

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A Marietta man was arrested within hours of his alleged Gainesville bank heist and getaway by taxicab, officers said.
Gainesville Police investigators took Tracy Dan Schwartz, 36, into custody without incident on Friday at the Walmart in Cumming. He's charged with robbery by intimidation.

Schwartz is accused of walking into the Wells Fargo Bank on Browns Bridge Road at Pearl Nix Parkway at 11:22 a.m.

Friday and warning a teller he had a gun before demanding money, said Master Police Officer Joe Britte, the department's spokesman. Schwartz fled with an undisclosed amount of cash, police said.

No one was injured in the robbery, and witnesses told police they did not see a weapon.

Someone with knowledge of the suspect and his whereabouts called Gainesville Police, which led to his arrest, said Lt. Carol Martin, commander of the Criminal Investigations Division. The Cumming Police Department assisted with the arrest.

"The investigators did a great job and worked as a team," Martin said.

Initially, police believed the suspect ran west on Browns Bridge Road toward the Big Lots Shopping Plaza, based on witness statements. A Georgia State Patrol helicopter assisted with aerial surveillance following the crime.

Gainesville investigators secured the scene quickly with yellow crime tape and later distributed images taken from surveillance cameras at the bank.

The image showed a young-looking man in sunglasses, a camouflage ball cap and a long-sleeved shirt dark in color with light horizontal stripes. T-shirts visible underneath the suspect's shirt were colored red and white, Britte said.

Investigators at first said he might have layered his clothing and removed shirts as he ran. But they later learned he hailed a taxicab and headed for Cumming, nearly 20 miles southwest of Gainesville, Martin said.

Told Schwartz was dropped off near the Walmart in Cumming, investigators hoped to find him on surveillance video at the store, Martin said. Instead detectives located Schwartz in the store.

Reached before the arrest, bank officials in Gainesville said they were not authorized to speak with the media.

Business at the Wells Fargo branch, located at 1368 Browns Bridge Road, appeared to return to normal soon after the robbery. The crime tape was gone and customer traffic remained steady.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation also was told about the robbery. The agency formerly handled all bank robbery cases. However, the FBI's post-9/11 policies changed to free more agents for counter-terrorism cases and robberies in which weapons clearly were brandished, explained Special Agent Stephen Emmett, spokesman for the Atlanta field office.

"We're advised of a bank robbery. We still track (them). But if it's an unarmed robbery then it will be coordinated through the local police department," Emmett said.

A reason for tracking all bank robberies is to determine how, if at all, crimes may be connected, Emmett said, speaking generally.

Martin said the department's investigation of Schwartz and Friday's robbery still is ongoing.



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