The latest development in Wednesday's robbery at the northwest Lawrence branch of Mercantile Bank had investigators scratching their heads in wonder this morning.
Sometime between 7 p.m. Wednesday and 7:20 a.m. today, someone dropped a paper bag containing dye-stained bills on the west side of the bank at 3500 W. Sixth. The bag was found this morning by a bank employee.
Agent Max Geiman, spokesman in the Kansas City, Mo., office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, said Lawrence police turned over the bag and its contents to an FBI agent this morning. He said agents opened the bag late this morning and counted the money.
While he declined to reveal either the amount of money taken in the holdup or the amount found in the bag, Geiman said it was likely all of the money taken in the bank robbery had been recovered.
He said most of the bills were heavily stained with a maroon-colored dye, with some of the bills being so stained they were no longer green.
The dye, according to Geiman, came from a security device called a dye pack that some banks and other financial institutions use during robberies. When the dye packs explode, they stain the bills in such a way to make them easily recognizable.
"It's a little hard to spend money if it is totally dye-covered," Geiman said. "Why they would bring it back to the bank, rather than throwing it into the weeds somewhere, into the river or the trash is a very good question."
Geiman said investigators were not yet releasing a picture of the suspect taken by a bank security camera.
The suspect is described as a white male, 40 to 50 years old, about 5 feet 5 inches tall, weighing about 140 pounds. He was wearing a green cap, a brown jacket, gloves and sunglasses.
Police said the man entered the bank at approximately 10:40 a.m. Wednesday and demanded money from one teller. No weapon was displayed during the robbery. He left the bank heading west on Sixth Street in a newer model, burgundy car, possibly an Oldsmobile, with Missouri license plates.