PLATTSBURGH — A suspect in Monday’s bank robbery here has been identified by police.
Oneil O. Stephenson, 33, also known as Philippe Francois, is sought by authorities, according to State Police Troop B Criminal Bureau of Investigation Capt. Robert LaFountain.
“He has ties to this area,” he said Friday evening.
Stephenson “is considered armed and dangerous,” the police captain added.
Authorities are asking for help from the public to locate the man, who is black, heavyset and has various tattoos. One on his right forearm has the word “FLATBUSH” in large letters. His right shoulder and upper arm is adorned with a teddy bear, the faces of two women and some cursive script that appears to include the word “Double.”
NBT Bank on Route 3 in Plattsburgh was robbed at about 1 p.m. Monday. The amount of money taken was not released by police.
The suspect gave a teller a note saying he had a gun and demanded cash.
The investigation launched within a few minutes of the crime included a manhunt on foot and wheels, via helicopter and canine units. The suspect eluded roadblocks and patrols; Tuesday and beyond, the effort including a foot search for evidence and interviews with people in the area of the bank.
LaFountain said the results of the continuing investigation, along with forensic evidence, pointed to Stephenson.
Tuesday, NBT Bancorp offered a reward of as much as $10,000 for original information leading to the arrest and conviction of anyone involved in the robbery.
Police hadn’t ruled out accomplices in the heist.
ROBBERY IN BURLINGTON
LaFountain said State Police is in touch with authorities in South Burlington, where just before 5 p.m. Thursday, Peoples United Bank on Dorset Street was robbed.
He said there was no evidence that the crimes were connected as of Friday evening.
South Burlington Police Chief Trevor Whipple said the suspect in the robbery across the lake is a slender black male who is between 6 feet and 6 feet 2 inches tall with a ‘sleeve-type’ tattoo on his right arm.
He showed a handgun in the bank and escaped with an undisclosed amount of cash.
Video surveillance at the bank showed the suspect arrived on a bicycle, and police believe that’s how he fled.
Thursday’s heist was the third at Peoples United there since November 2011.
SERVED JAIL TIME
In January 2007, the Press-Republican reported that the suspect in the Plattsburgh robbery was sent to jail, convicted of selling drugs.
In August 2006, Stephenson, then 27, had pleaded guilty to third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance and third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance.
Clinton County Judge Patrick McGill sentenced him to a one-and-a-half-year determinate sentence on each charge to run concurrently, followed by one year of post-release supervision. Stephenson was also ordered to pay restitution and court surcharges, and his driver’s license was suspended for six months.
According to the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision, he was incarcerated at Oneida Correctional on Nov. 10, 2006 and released to serve probation just over a year later on Dec. 14, 2007.
Assisting State Police with the investigation were the Clinton County Sheriff’s Department, City of Plattsburgh Police, Plattsburgh State University Police, U.S. Customs and Border Protection Border Patrol and the Clinton County District Attorney’s Office.
Anyone with information about Stephenson’s whereabouts is asked to call State Police at 563-3761.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.