• Some Longwood banks asking customers to take off hats, sunglasses to deter robberies


    LONGWOOD, Fla. - Longwood police are trying out a new way to deter bank robbers, by simply asking them to remove what could be a disguise.

    There were two bank robberies in the city in March where the suspect simply passed a note.

    They say those types of suspects are passive and will do what the signs ask them to do: removing their hats, sunglasses and hoods so they're easily identified in banks like Fairwinds, Fifth Third and Chase.

    Police are asking people to take off their hats, hoods and sunglasses before going inside local banks.

    "This is not going after your career criminals or your hardened criminals, this is going after the people who want to come in unnoticed and leave unnoticed," said Kevin Tuck with Longwood Police.

    Deputies said one man slipped a note demanding cash at a Chase Bank in Winter Springs on Wednesday and is still on the run.

    Police said if someone is forced to take off a disguise of a hat or sunglasses they'll either walk away or the bank will get a clear shot of their face that they can use.

    The department has facial recognition software that matches up surveillance pictures with driver's licenses.

    Police said they'll only use that if a crime is committed.

    Even if customers don't mind following the new rule, they're not convinced it will work.

    "They're going to walk in there regardless," said customer Jennifer Philips.

    So far there are six banks that have signed up for this program, almost half the banks in the city of Longwood.

    At least one bank has refused, calling it offensive to ask their customers to take off their hats.

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