BELLEVUE (KDKA) — Police say a mother who said she just lost her job, robbed a bank in Bellevue this afternoon, prompting the lockdown of a nearby school and evacuation of several businesses.
The incident happened just after 1 p.m. at the PNC Bank in the 400-block of Lincoln Avenue in the heart of the borough’s business district.
A section of Lincoln Avenue was closed down after police got a call.
Authorities say the woman, who was driving a maroon SUV, had passed the teller at the drive-thru window a note demanding money and making a bomb threat.
Police quickly responded to the scene of the attempted hold up, which is just few blocks from the police station, and took the woman into custody. She has been identified as 33-year-old Brandy Greulich of Brighton Heights.
If they get caught, the note said, they would all die. Police determined the note was a hoax, and there were no explosive devise found in the SUV she was driving, with a fake Ohio license plate. When she was taken into custody, Gruelich told officers “they were watching us, they made me do it, they said they would kill me and my son, if I didn’t.”
She’s now charged with robbery and making a threat to use a weapon of mass destruction.
“She admitted that there was no bomb in the car, that that part of the note was a hoax,” said Sgt. Matthew Lucas, of the Bellevue Police Department. “My understanding is that she’s just on tough times right now, lost a job recently, a single mom.”
She only had two words to say Tuesday night as Bellevue Police took her jail. “I’m sorry” she uttered while being placed in a police car outside the Bellevue Police Station.
Several businesses near the bank were evacuated as a precaution as the Allegheny County Bomb Squad checked the SUV for any possible explosives.
Carolyn Laquatra, who owns a Bellevue business near the PNC bank said, “It’s very sad, I’ve never heard of a drive-through robbery like this before, it must [have been] a desperate situation.”
Also evacuated was the nearby Bellevue Elementary School, which was put on lockdown temporarily.
The students were evacuated to Northgate High School during the incident.
“My principal received a phone call today from the Bellevue Police Department indicating that they had an emergency in town and that we needed to proceed into a lockdown, so we proceeded into our lockdown and followed our procedures and contacted another local school district who provided us with transportation,” Superintendent Joe Pasquerilla, of the Northgate School District, said. “Now we are moving our students and evacuating out students from Bellevue Elementary to the high school per our plan.”
Stay with KDKA for the latest on this developing story.