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Tough day at work for busted bandit

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Crime,Scott McCabe

The bank heist was a bust as soon as it started.

About noon Thursday, the bandit dressed all in black walked into the TD Bank in the 1200 block of First Street NE and approached the teller.

"Give me $1,500," he demanded, according to the D.C. police report.

The teller replied, "Checking or savings?"

The bandit tried again.

"I want $1,500." The man dumped a black bag on the bank counter. The bag matched his outfit -- black jacket, black pants, black shoes and sunglasses.

"Do you know what is in here?" the man asked. "Don't play. It's a bomb."

He showed the teller his cellphone and said he could use the device to remotely detonate the bomb.

The worker began handing the money to the bandit. He looked at a second teller and said, "You too, miss. Give me the money."

The employees handed him about $3,700 in cash, as well as two hidden dye packs and "bait money," bills with recorded serial numbers. The dye packs are designed to detonate and spray red paint when they leave the area of the bank.

The man put the items in his own black bag. He held up the cellphone and reminded the tellers that he still controlled the bomb and that he needed 15 minutes to get away, police said.

He left the bag that he claimed contained the bomb inside the bank and walked out.

Two D.C. police officers, Capt. Marvin Lyons and Sgt. Randy Griffin, were across the street when they noticed the man walking down the street with red smoke coming out of a black bag.

The officers stopped the man and detained him. He was later identified as 63-year-old John Morris, also known as Clayton Matthew Morris.

Authorities evacuated the bank and the office building where the institution was housed. Police placed the neighborhood on lockdown as a bomb squad inspected the bag.

It took about four hours to determine that there was no threat of a bomb, police said.

During the wait on the unseasonably hot afternoon, an officer took Morris to rest on nearby steps. Morris sat and put his head down. The officer asked if he was all right.

"Yeah, I did it," he replied, according to police. "It's rough out here."

smccabe@washingtonexaminer.com

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