Escambia County deputies responded to a bank robbery at about 2:30 pm today at the Beach Community Bank, 9329 N. Palafox St. As deputies were responding they were alerted of a possible suspect vehicle, which they spotted trying to exit the shopping complex near the bank.
Deputies detained the suspect Mary E. Pritchett, 48, of Pensacola, driving the suspect vehicle. It was learned in the investigation that Pritchett had entered the bank and passed a note to a teller. Pritchett then exited the bank and drove off in a dark colored mini van, the same which deputies stopped. The bank employees were able to positively identify Pritchett as the suspect.
As deputies were speaking to Pritchett she claimed that her son had been abducted and was being held by a male until she robbed the bank. Pritchett said there was a bomb in the vehicle.
Deputies then closed the roads and evacuated the near by businesses until the Bay County Sheriff’s Office Bomb Unit and the State Fire Marshall’s Bomb Unit arrived on scene. Traffic was rerouted due to the road closures.
During subsequent questioning Pritchett admitted that she had made the story up about her child being abducted, that she in fact has no child, and there was never any bomb in her possession or in the vehicle. As a precaution the vehicle was cleared by the bomb units, and no type of explosive device was found.
Pritchett’s vehicle was seized for the investigation. Mary Pritchett was arrested and charged with robbery with a deadly weapon, she remains in the Escambia County Jail with a $10,000.00.
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