A man who allegedly robbed a bank on the Health Science Campus has been arrested and is awaiting trial in the Third Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals.
On July 22, Ismail Bakr allegedly robbed the PNC Bank of about $9,355 on Broad Street near Westmoreland, according to a criminal complaint submitted Sept. 22 by Special Agent Percy Giles of the FBI.
Bakr, 25, is a resident of North Philadelphia.
Executive Director of Campus Safety Services Charlie Leone previously told The Temple News the amount stolen was $12,000.
Bakr entered the PNC Bank around 2:30 p.m. and brandished a gun at a teller, verbally demanding $20,000, according to the criminal complaint. The teller gave Bakr $9,355 before he fled the branch south on Broad Street.
Exactly one week later, Bakr robbed a Wells Fargo Bank of $380 at 2843 N. Broad St.
Bakr made a final attempted robbery at another Wells Fargo Bank at 417 W. Olney Ave. Sept. 2.
Leone said Temple Police assisted in the initial investigation of the PNC Bank robbery, but the FBI did most of the work in the case.
The FBI’s Violent Crime Task Force responded to each of the robberies and reviewed surveillance footage from each bank. Video and images of the offender were released to news outlets and to social media to identify him, the criminal complaint said.
“Video’s been amazing on the investigative end of things,” Leone said. “It gives you a clearer picture than if you were just given a verbal description.”
Leone added Temple checked its surveillance cameras nearest to the PNC Bank, but did not find anything conclusive.
A concerned citizen contacted the FBI and Giles reviewed evidence, including Bakr’s handwritten demands of the two Wells Fargo bank robberies, the criminal complaint stated.
Members of the VCTF interviewed bank tellers Sept. 1 at the three banks and showed them photos of suspects. Each teller selected Bakr’s photo and said they recognized him, the complaint said.
According to the complaint, investigators interviewed Bakr’s father, who said both he and his wife own a handgun. He added he brought a lockbox containing both handguns to his brother’s house.
Bakr’s uncle turned over two Smith and Wesson handguns. Bakr’s father said the handguns were inaccessible prior to Sept. 2. The Sept. 2 robbery was the only one of the three where a handgun was not displayed.
Investigators also searched Bakr’s phone. In it, they found he had searched “Philadelphia bank robberies,” according to the complaint.
According to a criminal docket report filed Oct. 22, Bakr was arrested Sept. 2 and charged with armed bank robbery, using and carrying a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence and attempted bank robbery. He is represented by Rossman Thompson, a public defender who declined to comment.
Bakr pled not guilty on all counts in a hearing Nov. 4, according to court records. Attorneys have 14 days to file pre-trial motions, meaning arguments to keep certain evidence out of the trial or certain people from testifying in court.
Lian Parsons can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @Lian_Parsons.
Steve Bohnel contributed reporting.