Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 2, 2009

By Mark Wineka
Salisbury Post
A pair of armed men robbed the Sharonview Federal Credit Union in Salisbury Monday afternoon, but they left the loot behind when dye packs placed with the cash exploded, giving their money a telltale color.
Police said the money taken in the robbery was recovered. They continued looking for the suspects Monday night.
Two people had been taken into custody for questioning but were released, Salisbury Police Chief Mark Wilhelm said.
The men wanted are described as black males in their late teens or early 20s. Each was carrying a silver handgun.
They wore black clothing, gloves and black bandannas as masks. One suspect was reported to have a goatee, and both men were said to have a thin build.
The robbery occurred about 4:55 p.m. Monday, just minutes before the credit union at 2204 S. Main St. closed for the day.
Wilhelm said one of the robbers stood in the lobby and waved his gun, while the other man jumped over the counter and filled a backpack with money from the teller drawers. He pointed his gun at the tellers, according to reports.
No one inside the credit union was hurt.
The men fled on foot toward the Executive Inn motel on South Main Street. It was in this area that the dye packs went off and the money and backpack were left behind.
Officers searched with a K-9 unit and with the help of a N.C. Highway Patrol helicopter. They concentrated in the apartment areas behind the motel and in wooded areas off Sunset Drive.
Several vehicles in the area were investigated.
Sharonview is a full-service, nonprofit financial institution that conducts most services that a bank does.
Its roots are with Celanese employees, but it is open to others if their employers wish to participate.
This is not the first time dye packs have helped police recover money stolen from the Sharonview office in Salisbury.
In 2003, investigators located dye-covered cash and other evidence in a wooded area behind Sharonview following a previous day’s break-in and theft of cash.
In that break-in, someone pried open a door at a restaurant next to the credit union in the Sunset Square shopping center. From inside the restaurant, thieves punched a hole through wallboard in the kitchen and entered the credit union.
There they disabled an alarm to reach cash in a safe.
Officers later found dye-splattered cash about 300 feet behind the credit union.
Contact Mark Wineka at 704-797-4263, or mwineka@salisburypost.com.

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