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January 31, 2003

Bank robbery suspect is brother of murder defendant

From: Rochester Democrat Chronicle, NY - 31 Jan 2003

Man arrested after bank customer calls cops

By Patrick Flanigan
Democrat and Chronicle

(January 31, 2003) — A man arrested in connection with a Thursday morning bank robbery in Rochester is the brother of a man who is standing trial on a murder charge.

Police said Sergio Ponder, 18, is the brother of Jerald Ponder, 29, who has been charged in the shooting death of his pregnant girlfriend. The jury is expected to start deliberating in Jerald Ponder’s trial today.

Sergio Ponder has been charged with first-degree robbery, first-degree assault and fourth-degree grand larceny and is to be arraigned today in City Court.

The HSBC bank at 2315 E. Main St. was robbed about 9:10 a.m.

Police said the robber entered the bank and jumped over the counter. He displayed a handgun and demanded cash. The robber also struck one teller in the head with the gun.

Meanwhile, another teller mouthed the words “we are being robbed” through the drive-through window, and a deaf female customer read the teller’s lips and called police.

The robber fled with the cash, but a large number of police were already en route to the building because of the customer’s call, said Chief Robert Duffy.

Officers recovered a coat that was stained from a dye pack, a gun and the cash near Woodstock Road.

Ponder was arrested in an East Main Street business trying to wash dye from his hands, Duffy said.

Duffy credited fast police work and the woman’s call for the arrest.

“It was a great response,” Duffy said. “We’re fortunate nobody was hurt inside the bank. We’re fortunate none of the officers was hurt.”

Copyright 2003 Rochester Democrat and Chronicle.