- Associated Press - Tuesday, August 29, 2017

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - A Nebraska-based bank has increased security at all its locations in the wake of several robberies at branches in Lincoln.

Pinnacle Bank branches in Lincoln have been the targets of bank robbers five times in the past year. Lincoln police said there have also been nine other bank robberies in the city in the past two years.

Pinnacle spokeswoman Amy Guenther said the bank is adding controlled access at all 12 of its Lincoln branches. It’s using armed guards at some locations until it can complete the process.

“In light of the recent bank robberies, we felt it was important to keep our customers and our employees safe,” Guenther said. “It was done for safety reasons.”

A customer will ring a doorbell when coming to the branch. If staff recognize the person, they’ll let them in. If the person isn’t recognized, they’ll be asked some questions to make sure staff is comfortable letting the customer in the building. The bank may sometimes ask for identification, the Lincoln Journal Star reported .

“We really are trying to keep it as friendly as possible,” Guenther said. “We are just doing it for the safety of everyone.”

The FBI reported that the number of heists in Nebraska increased from 14 in 2015 to 75 last year. The surge comes as bank robberies rose nationally by about 5 percent in the same time period.

The Nebraska Bankers Association has also hosted training sessions for bank employees with FBI agents, said Richard Baier, president and CEO of the association.

The association also offered a $20,000 reward for information leading to arrests in unsolved robberies.


Information from: Lincoln Journal Star, https://www.journalstar.com

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