HAZLETON ‚?? It was a stick-em-up, throw-em-back day for Kevin A. Parks Sr.
Parks, 41, an inmate at the MinSec Hazleton Treatment Center, was arrested Friday and charged with robbing the First National Community Bank at 340 W. Broad St.
Police said Parks failed to show up for a scheduled appointment that got him off the MinSec site; instead, he decided to rob the bank, buy some vodka and hop a cab to downtown Scranton, where he was arrested for public intoxication near the Steamtown Mall.
Police later learned Parks was the suspect in the Hazleton bank heist and he was charged and taken to an undisclosed state correctional facility.
The bank robbery was the fourth major crime in Hazleton in the last four weeks, including two homicides, said state Rep. Tarah Toohil, R-Butler Township.
When she heard about the bank robbery, Toohil called Gov. Tom Corbett‚??s office to report it and request the state attorney general and others come to Hazleton to discuss the viability of having a private, state-funded correctional facility in the city‚??s downtown.
‚??MinSec does not belong in the downtown,‚?Ě Toohil said. ‚??These are state inmates serving the end of their sentences. We need to transfer at least half of them to state prisons and the rest to other MinSec operated facilities.‚?Ě
MinSec is located at 145 W. Broad St., a few blocks from the bank that was robbed.
Toohil, Hazleton Police Chief Frank DeAndrea and Mayor Joe Yannuzzi agreed the city needs more police officers. There are 23 on the force and Toohil said there should be at least 52. Toohil said the same situation exists in neighboring West Hazleton, where six officers are employed and there should be no fewer than 10.
‚??We need full-complement forces in each town,‚?Ě she said. State police are always being called for assistance.‚?Ě
Toohil complimented the Hazleton police for working long hours to solve the recent crimes.
‚??Our police are working understaffed in a bad, bad criminal climate,‚?Ě she said.
According to DeAndrea, Detective Lt. Kenneth Zipovsky received a call from Scranton Police Capt. Glen Thomas that Parks was taken into custody Friday morning at 11:30.
He was processed at the Scranton Police Department, where it was determined that he had an amount of cash on him that was ‚??slightly less‚?Ě than the amount taken in the bank robbery. Zipovsky would not disclose the amount taken from the bank, but the denominations were consistent with those taken during the robbery.
Based on the information received from Scranton, Zipovsky issued a warrant for the felony charge of robbery against Parks.
Hazleton police were dispatched to the bank at about 9:30 a.m. Friday for a reported armed robbery involving a gun. When police arrived they were told the suspect had fled on foot and gave police a detailed description.
Police interviewed Susan Wagner, the bank teller and victim, who said Parks approached her window, demanded all her money and told here he had a gun. She said he patted his jeans near his right front pocket, implying the weapon was there. Wagner gave Parks the money and he fled on foot.
MinSec employee Roxanne Cook identified Parks from a photograph taken by the bank‚??s security system. Cook called the location where Parks was supposed to be and was told he never showed.