Banks robbed-suspects nabbed

Just after noon on Tuesday, two men allegedly robbed the Wilmington Trust and First Shore Federal Banks in Millville using handguns.
Special to the Coastal Point • RICHARD O'LEARY: A Delaware State Police chopper searches for the suspects in Salt Pond.Special to the Coastal Point • RICHARD O'LEARY:
A Delaware State Police chopper searches for the suspects in Salt Pond.

Delaware State Troopers, and Bethany Beach and Ocean City police officers responded to a bank robbery complaint at the Wilmington Trust on Atlantic Avenue at about 12:20 p.m., just minutes before officials from the First Shore Federal Bank reported a similar crime.

After a short chase that injured a Bethany officer, the state troopers arrested Marcus W. Clements, 21, of Alexandria, Va., and Jairuis C. Dunson, 20, of Harrington, in a nearby neighborhood, according to a Delaware State Police news release.

Troopers charged the pair with first degree robbery, possession of a deadly weapon during the commission of a felony, assault, conspiracy, aggravated menacing, wearing a disguise during the commission of a felony and criminal mischief.

Clements — who was allegedly the one in the bank while Dunson was the get-away driver — was also charged with carrying a concealed deadly weapon, according to the report. Dunson was also charged with reckless endangering, according to police.

According to that report, Clements allegedly entered the Wilmington Trust about 12:15 p.m. on Tuesday, wearing a bandana to cover his face, holding a handgun, and demanded money. The teller handed over an undisclosed amount of money and the suspect fled, police said.

“We’re grateful that none of our staff members got hurt,” said Bill Benintende, a spokesman for Wilmington Trust. “And we’re also very appreciative of the efforts of the Delaware State Police and local law-enforcement agencies.”

After the suspects left the Wilmington Trust, they allegedly traveled to First Shore Federal on Atlantic Avenue and performed the same sequence of events, according to the report.

“No one was hurt,” said Diane Koch, the vice president of First Shore Federal. “The teller did exactly what they were trained to do. I’m just grateful everything went the way it did.”

According to the Delaware State Police, a group of people witnessed the suspects leave First Shore Federal and jump into a white car that was parked behind the bank. One of the witnesses followed the vehicle until a Bethany Beach police officer responded, police said.

The suspects then intentionally rammed the police vehicle, according to the report, before turning on Cedar Neck Road. The Bethany Beach officer sustained injuries to his wrist and was treated and released from Beebe Medical Center in Lewes.

Troopers, Bethany Beach and Ocean City officers continued to chase the suspects in the vehicle before they crashed off Cedar Neck Road and fled the vehicle on foot into the Salt Pond community, according to the report.

According to police, both suspects were found after an approximate 90 minute search. One of them was found hiding in a swampy creek within the neighborhood, according to the report.

Millville Mayor Gary Willey, who has lived in the town for 58 years, said the bank robbery was a first for the small town, which doesn’t yet have its own police department.

“Millville made history (Tuesday),” he said. “I was shocked that it should happen right here. But with seven banks coming within a mile-and-a-half, it’s not going to be uncommon. We need to get police protection sooner than later, so people know there is a police presence.”

The recent building of Wachovia and Wilmington Trust in the Millville Town Center retail complex add to the handful of banks already within a few square miles in and just outside the growing town. First Shore Federal is less than a block from the center, as is a County Bank branch. Taylor Bank is located just east on Route 1, in Ocean View.