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Utica Police investigate bank robbery on Mohawk Street; photo of suspect released

UTICA, N.Y (WKTV) - Utica Police this morning were on the scene of a bank robbery at the Bank of America branch on Mohawk Street in East Utica.

The robbery happened shortly after 9 a.m. Thursday morning. Utica Police said that a suspect entered the bank armed with a semi-automatic handgun, fired one round inside the bank and made off with an undisclosed amount of money. No one was injured during the robbery and UPD Captain James Watson says he doesn't believe the suspect meant to shot anyone.

"It looks like an inexperienced gun handler and an accidental discharge of the weapon, is what it appears to be at this point," says Watson.

The suspect, described as a 5'7", black male of medium build, wearing a fishing style hat that police referred to as a "Gilligan-style hat," with an unknown type of black material partially covering his face.

He was also wearing dark pants and a multi-colored, horizontally-striped shirt.

Deputy Chief Bailey said that to actually have shots fired during a bank robbery is a rare occurrence.

The area surrounding the bank had been roped off, and police were on the scene, as well as surrounding areas as they searched for the suspect. Police officers with guns drawn also took canine unites through backyards on Blandina and Mary Streets in east Utica.

Employees of the bank appeared shaken up as they gave descriptions to police of what happened. A customer in the bank had to be treated for hyperventilation.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is assisting and is offering up to a $25,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and prosecution of the persons responsible for the robbery, or preceding robberies that occurred at the Utica District Telephone Employees Federal Credit Union on November 20, 2009; the First Source Federal Credit Union on January 28, 2010 and the Empower Federal Credit Union on April 23, 2010.

Anyone with information is urged to call the Utica Police Department at 315-223-3510 or 315-735-3301.

CLICK ON THE MEDIA ICON TO SEE VIDEO OF THE ROBBERY SCENE AND AS AUTHORITIES SEARCH FOR A SUSPECT

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