PLATTSBURGH — A large blue and white State Police helicopter could be seen Wednesday afternoon as it repeatedly circled an area around Champlain Centre mall.
New York State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation Capt. Robert LaFountain verified that the helicopter was involved in the ongoing NBT Bank robbery investigation but would not elaborate as to what, if anything, police were searching for. The robber was still on the loose.
“The only thing I’ll confirm is the helicopter was up related to the investigation, but we’re not disclosing why,” LaFountain said.
The helicopter is based at the Lake Clear Airport, where the State Police Aviation Unit maintains a presence for emergency responses such as major crimes, lost persons or natural disasters.
The suspect, who is black, had a mustache and goatee, is about 6 feet tall and weighs between 220 and 250 pounds, slid a note to a teller at the Plattsburgh bank at about 1 p.m. Monday that demanded money and said he had a gun. No one was hurt during the incident. At the time of the robbery, the suspect was wearing sunglasses, a dark-colored sweatshirt with the word “lucky” on it, khaki cargo shorts and white sneakers.
LaFountain said Tuesday that “there is a distinct possibility that the facial hair is part of a disguise.”
The rumor that a SWAT team was called to America’s Best Value Inn near NBT Bank in Plattsburgh on Tuesday was not related to this investigation in any way, if it did in fact occur, LaFountain said.
Jaspal Kang, manager of America’s Best Value Inn confirmed that police did interview a hotel guest on Tuesday, but he was not the bank robbery suspect and was not arrested.
State Police along with other local agencies continue to utilize all available resources in the investigation, but police are still hopeful that someone from the community will step forward
with information on the identity of the robbery suspect.
“The investigation is continuing. We have pulled in resources from throughout the region as well as our law-enforcement partners,” LaFountain said. “Once again, we just put out that anyone who has any information, or thinks that they know the person, should give us a call.”
On Tuesday, NBT Bancorp offered a reward of as much as $10,000 for original information that leads to the capture, arrest and conviction of anyone involved in the heist.
Anyone with information about the robbery should contact State Police at the Plattsburgh barracks at 563-3761. To learn more about the NBT reward, call (607) 226-0509.