HONESDALE- On March 1 the Wayne County District Attorney Janine Edwards and the Honesdale Borough Police Department announced the charging and arrest of Steven R. French, age 48 for the robbery of the Citizens Bank in Honesdale on February 20, 2013.
According to the Affidavit of Probable Cause, on February 20 at approximately 1:51 p.m. the Honesdale Borough Police Department was dispatched to a bank robbery at Citizens Savings Bank 335 Willow Ave, Honesdale Borough.
Upon arrival the bank teller gave a description of the suspect to police and stated that he approached her and handed her a handwritten robbery note demanding cash and indicating he had a gun and a partner outside. The note also advised to act quickly, naturally and everyone will be safe. The suspect also handed her a cloth tote bag and said, "hurry". The teller responded by putting money in the tote bag, later determined to be $2,420.00 in cash, and gave it to the suspect.
Fled on foot
The suspect then exited the front door. The note was recovered and it was handwritten on a plain piece of 8-1/2" x 11" paper. Surveillance footage and still photographs were obtained of the suspect. The video footage revealed that the suspect removed a black glove from his hand, while at the teller line, and that he had a white, rubber glove on his hand.
Witnesses outside the bank said upon exiting the bank the suspect ran southbound on Willow Avenue, crossed the road and ran onto Old Willow Avenue. Surveillance video was viewed at Rent-E-Quip, a business located at 416 Old Willow Avenue. Footage shows the suspect running southbound on Old Willow Avenue at approximately 1:52 p.m.
Responding Pennsylvania State Police officers assisted with the investigation and a PSP officer located a single set of shoe prints off the left side of the roadway near 461 Old Willow Avenue, approximately 200 yards south of Rent-E-Quip. Said shoe prints were in the snow and they led upward into a wooded area. Said prints were followed through the wooded area. The prints led to a side door of a business on Grandview Avenue. that being a tattoo parlor at 164 Grandview Avenue. The shoe prints were later photographed and measured and appear consistent with a 9-½ size.
Took a taxi
Pennsylvania State Police officers entered the tattoo parlor business, which was open at the time, and made contact with a Steven R. French. A photo of him was taken and the investigation continued. Shortly thereafter French went to Cordaro’s Restaurant 186 Grandview Avenue and then obtained a Maple City Taxi Cab and was taken to Dover, New Jersey. French paid $160.00 cash for the cab fare and a $20.00 tip.
On February 22, 2013 Bill French, owner of the tattoo parlor, and brother of Steven R. French, was interviewed by Honesdale PD. Bill French related that he picked up his brother from New Jersey on February 17, 2013 and brought him to his apartment, located in the rear of his tattoo shop, on Grandview Avenue. Bill said French stayed with him until February 20, when French abruptly left the apartment without saying good bye to Bill and returned to New Jersey.
On February 23, 2013 a contractor, who was working in the apartment at the tattoo parlor on February 20, 2013, was interviewed. He advised that on February 20th when he arrived for work at 7:30 a.m. French and Bill were there. He then went into the basement to work. Between 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. he related that he came upstairs into the apartment and noticed that French was not there. He went back downstairs to work and at approximately 3:30 p.m., when he was finished working, he went upstairs into the apartment.
NJ Police make arrest
French was apprehended by the Secaucus, New Jersey Police Department. French remains in custody in New Jersey while he awaits extradition back to Pennsylvania.
[MORE INFORMATION IS FOUND IN NEXT WEDNESDAY'S NEWS EAGLE.]