Man Tells Lakewood Bank Employees He Has Bomb


lakewood-policeLakewood – A would-be bank robber attempted to rob a Route 70 bank Thursday afternoon demanding $25,000 in cash and telling bank employees he had a bomb, township police reported.

Robert Rowohlt, 64, of Paradise Boulevard in the Silver Ridge Park section of Berkeley, entered the Capital One Bank on Route 70 at Airport Road at about 1:11 p.m., said Detective Lt. Paul Daly of the township police.

Rowohlt told bank employees that he had dynamite and it would explode in three minutes if they did not give him the cash, Daly said.

Then the kitchen timer on his alleged makeshift bomb started to ring, Daly said. But the device did not explode, and Rowohlt’s caper quickly went awry.

A teller hit an alarm bell that alerted police to the bank robbery as another bank employee called 911 also to inform police of the incident. Rowohlt spotted the bank worker making the call and demanded the person hang up the phone, Daly said.

Patrolmen Ralph Hatt and Karl Must arrived on scene as Rowohlt was exiting the building. They tackled Rowohlt as he attempted to get inside a Dodge Intrepid parked outside the entrance to the bank, Daly said.

Rowohlt was taken into custody, and State Police determined Rowohlt had painted some wooden dowels to look like dynamite, attached a few wires to each of the dowels and connected them to a common kitchen timer to make it look like a real explosive device, Daly explained.

Also found inside the bag containing the fake bomb was several boxes wrapped in paper, Daly said.

No one was injured during the incident, Daly said, but Airport Road was closed from Route 70 to Oak Street for about two hours while investigators tried to sort out the details and State Police bomb experts determined the bomb was not real.

Rowohlt told investigators he had fallen on hard times prompting him to attempt the bank robbery, Daly said.

Rowohlt is being held in the Lakewood police jail pending formal charges being filed in Ocean County Superior Court as early as this morning.

{Asbury Park Press/}