BETHEL – Police are searching for a young woman who robbed a KeyBank assistant manager at gunpoint Thursday morning by forcing her to withdraw money from an ATM inside the bank.

The robber is in her 20s, and is about 5 feet, 4 inches tall, police said.

She wore a white T-shirt, tan Capri pants and white Crocs, and she hid her face with a multicolored scarf and a maroon cap pulled low on her head, police Chief Alan J. Carr said.

She was carrying a white canvas backpack and she fled on foot up High Street toward Gould Academy, Carr said. He did disclose how much money she got.

The police chief was first to arrive after the bank’s assistant manager, Marjorie Osgood, called 911 for help at 8:30 a.m. He said he didn’t notice anything out of the ordinary. The robbery suspect armed with a small handgun was nowhere in sight.

“Once I realized there was a weapon involved and that we didn’t know where the woman was leaving to, I advised the schools to enter lockdowns,” Carr said.

Some businesses in the area, including the Bethel Area Chamber of Commerce, also locked its doors.

State police sent a team of eight detectives, including the Evidence Response Team and its crime lab van and troopers to assist Bethel police and the Oxford County Sheriff’s Office with the investigation.

Until the woman is caught, State police Lt. Walter Grzyb advises people to be cautious and to contact police if they see anything or anyone out of the ordinary.

Carr urged people to go on with their daily lives.

“People should have no reason to be afraid,” he said.

The incident began at 8:20 a.m. when Osgood arrived for work, Carr said. Before she could enter the bank to open it for business, the young woman approached Osgood and asked for money.

She followed Osgood into the bank’s foyer to the ATM vestibule.

“She said she needed money. The girl was nervous and then displayed a small handgun until the money was given to her,” Carr said. “The manager used her own ATM card to get the money.”

No shots were fired, and Osgood was not injured.

“Marjorie did an excellent job,” Carr said. “She kept the perpetrator from getting into the bank. She talked to her for about five minutes, then afterward, she was pretty shook up with the initial onslaught, but as time went on she calmed down.”

Police are urging anyone who walked or drove past the bank before 8:30 a.m. Thursday morning to call state police at 824-3437 and provide information to investigators. Bethel police are also conducting interviews.

After the robbery, people approaching the bank were turned away and told the bank was closed for the day. The ATM area opened after Osgood and other employees had left.

Carr said Thursday’s incident was Bethel’s first bank robbery that he could recall, but town historian Stanley Howe said it was the second in 110 years.

“In Sept. 1898, there was an attempt to blow the safe off the Bethel Savings Bank, which is now Northeast Bank,” Howe said. “It was a dark and rainy night when they did it, but the bank had a new safe with a new inner section which stayed locked through two explosions. They were unsuccessful.”

Maine State Police are urging anyone who walked or drove past Key Bank in Bethel before 8:30 a.m. Thursday morning to call them at 824-3437.

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