Police: Springetts bank robber pretended to need cane

Liz Evans Scolforo

When Springettsbury Township Police spoke with Timothy Gelzer at his home earlier this month, the bank-robbery suspect was wearing a back brace and using a cane, police said. He told investigators he was physically incapable of riding a bicycle, didn't own a working bicycle and therefore couldn't be the man who fled on a bike after robbing the Members 1st Federal Credit Union on April 6.

But police weren't buying it.

Timothy Gelzer

Detective Christopher Ford tracked down video footage of Gelzer riding a mountain bike to his job on four occasions, including two days before the bank robbery, according to charging documents.

In the videos, Gelzer doesn't use a cane and isn't wearing the back brace he told Ford he needed for his chronic health problems, documents state.

Police allege he robbed the Members 1st at 2420 Mount Rose Ave. in Springettsbury Township about 2 p.m. April 6.

Gelzer, 49, of 912 Fahs St. in York City, remains in York County Prison on $75,000 bail, charged with robbery, theft and receiving stolen property. He also is being held on a York County probation violation, according to prison records.

'Don't take long': Charging documents allege he walked into the bank and handed a teller a note that stated, "empty out your drawer I have a gun so don't take long."

The teller told police the robber kept his hand in his right front sweatshirt pocket and that she was afraid he had a gun.

Gelzer fled the bank after the teller handed him $2,473, at which point he jumped on a bike he'd parked behind the Pizza Hut next door and rode off, heading toward York City, documents allege.

Police from several departments converged on the area and searched in the rain for hours but couldn't find the robber.

During that time, York Suburban High School, Valley View Elementary School and the York Jewish Community Center all went on lockdown.

In the days after the robbery, police released video footage of the robber riding away but stopping at one point to retrieve cash he had dropped.

Detectives focused on Gelzer after receiving a tip that he might be the robber, documents state. During the investigation, police received an anonymous tip that Gelzer was "fronting," or lying, about needing the cane and back brace.

Bank robbery suspect fumbles cash in released video

Sex offender: Gelzer denied he wears eyeglasses, according to documents, which state the bank robber was wearing glasses.

But in charging documents, Ford notes that Gelzer is wearing glasses in his most recent photo for Pennsylvania's Megan's Law online sex-offender registry. In fact, Gelzer is wearing glasses in four different registry photos. The registry states he's also known as "X."

In 1998, Gelzer was convicted in York County Court of attempted involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, indecent assault and corruption of a minor, according to court records.

Springettsbury Township Police said this man robbed the Members 1st Federal Credit Union on Mount Rose Avenue on April 6, 2017, spurring an hourslong manhunt.

Gelzer denied robbing the bank but told detectives "that his brother contacted him after seeing the surveillance video online and asked him why he robbed the bank."

Ford wrote in charging documents that video footage from Gelzer's workplace shows him wearing "nearly identical" clothing to that worn by the bank robber. Also, Gelzer stopped going to work after April 4, documents allege.

He was arrested Wednesday afternoon.

— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at levans@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.