From The Ottawa Citizen
by Claire Brownell, Ottawa Citizen
December 30, 2010
Hijab-wearing man robs west-side Ottawa bank
OTTAWA — A man used a Muslim woman’s religious garment as a disguise to rob a bank at the Pinecrest Mall on Thursday, police said.
Sgt. Mark Myers said the man, who wore a blue robe and a head scarf concealing his mouth and nose, passed a note demanding money to a bank teller at a Scotiabank branch around noon.
The teller handed over an undisclosed amount of cash.
The suspect then fled the bank, heading eastbound on foot, he said.
Myers said that since the summer, there have been a handful of other robberies in Ottawa involving male suspects using Muslim women’s religious garments as disguises. He was not immediately able to answer how many such robberies there have been or whether police suspect they have been committed by the same person.
The sergeant said police are confident the suspect is a man because at one point during the robbery, he spoke in a masculine voice.
The three or four customers in the bank at the time were uninjured. The bank remained closed for the rest of the day.
“We are thankful that our employees and our customers who were in the branch at the time are safe,” said Ann Derabbie, a Bank of Nova Scotia spokeswoman in Toronto. “We will be offering counselling support (to employees) should any of them need it.”
Police described the suspect as male with dark skin, dark eyes and bushy eyebrows, standing about five-foot-10 with a slim build. He was wearing what police described as a dark blue hijab with designs around the head and neck and a long, dark-blue robe. The suspect spoke English with a slight accent.
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