(March 20, 2015) It only took a matter of hours for police to track down a suspect in the armed robbery of the BB&T Bank in Ocean Pines on Friday, as authorities arrested 52-year-old Jeff Varner Hare at his residence that evening.
According to police, a white male entered the bank on 11111 Racetrack Road at approximately 1:13 p.m. on Friday, flashed a handgun and demanded money from the tellers. A police report described the robber as “an older white male wearing a blue ski mask, white shirt, light blue colored jeans and white sneakers.”
The report went on to say the man retrieved money from one of the tellers then took the purse, containing a set of car keys, of another teller. He then fled the scene in the teller’s car.
According to Maryland State Police Sgt. Adam Howard, numerous 911 calls came into the State Police Berlin Barrack at 1:13 p.m., including an alarm company call referencing a robbery in progress.
Howard said state police troopers responded, along with Worcester County Sheriff’s Office, Ocean Pines Police Department and Natural Resources Police Department, at approximately 1:14 p.m.
“Troopers identified the suspect was not on scene, secured the bank and all the witnesses and evidence there,” Howard said. “A description of the suspect was gathered [from a caller], and it was also relayed that the suspect had stolen one of the employee’s cars, which was a blue Kia.”
Pfc. Ted Buck with the Worcester County Sheriff’s Department said police could not release the exact number of people inside the bank during the incident, but said it was a “good number.”
No guards were on duty at the time, according to Buck.
Once police secured the area, an alert went out about the stolen vehicle, which was found abandoned at around 1:27 p.m. behind the Food Lion on Manklin Creek Road, less than two miles from the bank.
At approximately 6:30 p.m. police conducted a reverse 911 call to all residents within a five-square-mile radius of the BB&T. That led to an anonymous tip. Members of the FBI, Worcester County Bureau of Investigations, the Worcester Criminal Enforcement Team, state police, and the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office visited two homes in Ocean Pines, leading to Hare’s arrest at his residence.
The report said police questioned Hare, who is described as 5 feet, 6 inches tall and weighing 200 pounds, on his whereabouts during the incident. A search warrant was authorized based on the interview, leading police to uncover evidence at the residence and inside Hare’s vehicle that linked him to the robbery.
Police said an eyewitness report also put Hare near the scene just prior to the robbery.
Hare was charged with armed robbery, first-degree assault, felony use of a firearm in commission of a violent crime, theft $1,000 to under $10,000, motor vehicle theft, reckless endangerment and malicious destruction of property valued at more than $1,000.
According to Howard, Hare is being held on $500,000 bond at Worcester County Detention Center.
A preliminary hearing is scheduled for April 8 at the District Court in Snow Hill.