Man charged with six armed bank robberies in Montgomery County since 2012

Man charged with six armed bank robberies in Montgomery County since 2012

Police said most recent was Tuesday at PNC Bank in Potomac at gunpoint

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Montgomery County police said a man who robbed a bank in Potomac on Tuesday at gunpoint also committed five other armed bank robberies as far back as 2012.

James Wersick, 71, is charged with committing the six bank robberies, including one bank twice.

Police said in a press release on Wednesday that Wersick robbed PNC Bank at 10150 River Road in Potomac just after 10 a.m. on Tuesday.

Wersick is accused of committing five other bank robberies over eight years:

  • M&T Bank, 10100 River Road in Potomac, on Jan. 27, 2012
  • Capital One Bank, 7340 Westlake Terrace in Bethesda, on Jan. 8, 2014
  • M&T Bank, 10420 Montgomery Ave. in Kensington, on Dec. 9, 2014
  • PNC Bank, 10211 Old Georgetown Road in Bethesda, on Feb. 13, 2016
  • M&T Bank, 10420 Montgomery Ave. in Kensington, on Feb. 13, 2016

Police wrote in a press release Wednesday  that Wersick went into PNC Bank at 10150 River Road in Potomac on Tuesday just after 10 a.m. and yelled at customers and employees to move to a corner of the building.

The press release says he told a teller he had been “watching her and knew where she lived.”

Police said Wersick then yelled at people inside not to move and pointed a gun at them, ordering the teller to put money in a bag he had.

A bank employee called police and gave a description of the robber, police said.

When Wersick left the bank, an officer who had arrived ordered him to stop, police said. Police said Wersick told the officer he was a customer.

As the officer apprehended Wersick, an employee left the bank and shouted at the officer that Wersick had robbed the bank. A handgun fell out of Wersick’s pocket, police said.

Police said Wersick also had three knives and a “large amount” of cash.

During the investigation, police said detectives determined that Wersick’s description and actions were similar to other armed bank robberies in the county in past years.

When questioned by police, Wersick told them he committed the other five armed robberies, according to the press release.

Sgt. Rebecca Innocenti, a police spokeswoman, declined to disclose how much money was taken in each robbery because it is the police department’s policy not to do so. She said disclosing how much money a bank has at one time could compromise the safety of the employees and the customers.

“If someone gets a large amount of money from a business or a bank, we don’t want to encourage other people to commit crimes,” she said.

The press release said Wersick has been charged with six counts of armed robbery. Police said other charges were filed, but they did not specify what they were.

State court records on Wednesday afternoon only showed one charge of armed robbery. Police did not provide Wersick’s hometown, but the state court database listed it as Germantown.

Wersick is due to appear in court Sept. 18. Attorney information was not listed on Wednesday.

Dan Schere can be reached at daniel.schere@bethesdamagazine.com

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