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Area Businesses React to Bank Robbery (VIDEO)

Employees and residents quickly recalled the April 2011 robbery of the same credit union

On Tuesday morning, helicopters hummed over the skies and police searched and patrolled the Nanuet area around the Kohl’s shopping center. An armed man fled on foot after robbing at least $30,000 cash from the branch on Route 59 in Nanuet. Read the full story .

As police searched the area, schools and several area businesses, organizations and residents were on lock-down and took extra precautions.

Along the same shopping strip as the credit union is Dress Barn. Employees at Dress barn said that they didn't know much about the situation other than it was a bank robbery. She said she arrived to work, left to go to the bank and when she came back, the robbery had occurred in that short time frame.

Another employee added that ironically, the same bank branch was robbed almost around this time of day, adding that she thinks that the suspect must know to come during this time of day because "people are just in and out" and there's not a lot of consumer traffic.

Bordering the shopping area off of Smith Street is the Nanuet Pavillion—which houses many businesses and organizations—and the Sussex at Bremmer Condo complex. 

—Rockland Council on Alcoholism and Other Drug Dependence—is located in the Nanuet Pavilion.

(The police) were all over the place,” said Ruth Bowles, RCADD executive director, adding that they did not on lock-down. “(A police officer) he came and told us that they think (the suspect) immediately got on Palisades Parkway.”

A resident of Sussex at Bremmer Condo Complex said she was in the shower in the back of her home when it happened and that her front door was not locked.

“I can’t believe I left it unlocked. I’m going to be more careful,” she said. “The police have been here all morning, searching everywhere.” She added that other residents in the complex said they saw the guy coming through the complex.

“He’s probably not here anymore though,” she said.

Through a lightly wooded area and a small creek from the Kohl's shopping area is the Demarest Mill Office Park, which houses non profit organizations and .

"We have a lock-down here,” said Meals on Wheels President and CEO Barbara Kohlhausen. “I was in a meeting and as soon as I heard the helicopter going around, I knew they were looking for someone.”

“The Palisades Federal is right on the other side of those trees and that little brook,” said Kohlhausen, pointing out her window. “We went through this several months ago when the Palisades was robbed last year. The police said that last time, the guy parked his car over here and then they came from the back (door of the credit union), walked through a little bit of woods, got in their car and drove away.”

Unlike this time, when the credit union was robbed in April 2011, there were swat teams that scoured the area and the businesses. Kohlhausen said she was worried because of the many entrances the building has as well as the high traffic volume when volunteers come to pick up meals to deliver them.

“Last time, the police searched everywhere and we even had to go out to our cars and open our trunks. We had a lock-down then too. Nobody in or out except for the volunteers and just the one door,” she said. “Last time, it was a day just like this. (The police) they came in and nobody told us what was going on. They actually came through here to each office, a guy all in black with a gun, and looked everywhere to see if it was ok. They were very nice, but we didn't know what was going on.”

Kohlausen isn’t the only one that hopes for more communication from the police when incidents like this occur. Just a few doors down is People to People. Diane Serratore, executive director of the non-profit, also said the police did not quickly inform them of the current situation when they came in April 2011 to search the premises, causing many employees and volunteers to worry.

“It was kind of déjà vu all over again here at People to People,” said Serratore. “As soon as we saw the helicopters, we thought, this can’t be good. It’s a little disconcerting.”

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