- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 23, 2002

A Maryland man suspected of committing two bank robberies yesterday was arrested after a fender-bender with a van carrying Swedish diplomats apparently caused a dye pack to detonate, alerting a nearby U.S. Park Police employee.
Swedish Finance Minister Bosse Ringholm had finished his official business in Washington early and wanted to do a little sightseeing. He and four other Swedish diplomats were riding in a Swedish Embassy van when they were hit on 17th Street NW near the intersection of Constitution Avenue.
"The ministers and the diplomats were driving nicely, obeying all of the traffic laws, and then they're hit," Swedish Embassy spokeswoman Nina Ersman said.
She said red smoke filled the suspect's car, apparently from exploding dye packages placed in a bank bag to mark stolen money.
The smoke alerted Carl Clipper, a retired lieutenant of the U.S. Park Police now working as a civilian employee of the force, who was passing by on his way to deliver lunch to Park Police officers patrolling yesterday's demonstrations.
The man driving the car that struck the Swedish Embassy van was apprehended by U.S. Park Police assigned to cover demonstrations on the Mall and turned over to the FBI, according to Park Police spokesman Sgt. Scott Fear.
The FBI charged Jerry Jones, 41, of Severn, Md., with robbing the Chevy Chase Bank at 9863 Georgetown Pike in Great Falls at 11:05 a.m. and the Cardinal Bank at 1313 Dolley Madison Blvd. at 11:30 a.m. yesterday.
No one was hurt in the crash.
Diplomat Karin Pettersson, one of the minister's aides, said, "We were driving very slowly. Then we were hit by another car that was driving fast.
"We saw this red smoke. All of a sudden, a lot of police showed up. They arrested him and told us he was a bank robber.
"It was a little bit of a shock," she added.
Van A. Harp, assistant director of the FBI's Washington field office, complimented Mr. Clipper for "his alert action," and he thanked the Park Police officers who arrested the suspect.
Mr. Ringholm was in Washington for a meeting of the World Bank. He briefed the staff at the embassy at 15th and M streets NW yesterday morning on the state of the Swedish economy and had some spare time before his plane departed for Sweden last yesterday afternoon. He wanted to see some Washington attractions and visit Mount Vernon.
Ingrid Nilsson, another aide to the minister, said they continued on their journey after the accident with the bank-robbery suspect.
They crossed the 14th Street Bridge, viewing the Jefferson Memorial and drove on to George Washington's home for lunch.

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