Police: Man leaves halfway house, robs bank

April 25, 2011 3:10:45 PM PDT
The search is on for a man police say left a Reading, Pa. correctional facility then robbed a bank.

Investigators say Maurice Emile is the man seen in bank surveillance photos, and Emile actually has an account with the Citizens Bank at 445 Penn Street in Reading.

Police say he went to the bank Saturday morning to speak with a customer service representative about that account.

After giving her all of his information, the bank employee was apparently able to help him.

Reading Police Inspector Francis Drexler says that is when the suspect did something completely unexpected.

"He just got up and walked up to a teller and handed the teller a note saying, 'This is a robbery. Give me all your money,'" Drexler told Action News.

The teller complied, and Emile ran away with an undisclosed amount of cash.

Police say the good news is that since Emile handed the bank all of his personal information moments before the hold-up, detectives know exactly who they are looking for.

But Maurice Emile might not be so easy to find. Emile is a convicted drug offender who was finishing out a 3- to 10-year sentence at a low-security halfway house in Wernersville, Berks County.

The 32-year-old suspect was on a work-release program, but failed to report back to the facility late last week.

Residents who live near the Wernersville Community Corrections Center say they are startled by what happened, but not surprised.

"I don't like it, period. Put a fence around the place with Concertina razor wire. Then I'll be happy," said Joe Schaetzle.

"I'm concerned if they wander around or are left out. I'm concerned about the amount people that are going to be there," said Eric Schweitzer.

Meantime, police say they are not sure why Emile made it so easy for them to identify him. But they are glad he did.

Anyone with information that can help investigators find Emile is asked to call the Reading Police Department at (610) 655-6116.