BETHESDA, Md. (WJZ) — A 71-year-old man was charged in six Maryland bank robberies after he was stopped by a police officer while exiting a bank.

A Montgomery County Police officer was on patrol near the PNC Bank at 10150 River Road in Potomac around 10 a.m. on Aug. 4 when a call arrived for an armed robbery in progress.

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When the officer arrived, a man matching the armed robbery suspect’s description was exiting the bank. The officer ordered the suspect James Wersick, of an unconfirmed address, to stop, but he refused, saying “I’m a customer.”

The officer caught up with Wersick and held him in order to prevent him from reaching into his pockets and potentially retrieving a gun, the witnesses told 911 about.

At the same time, an employee exited the building and told the officer that the man was the alleged bank robber. As the officer took Wersick into custody, a handgun fell out of his pant pockets. A white bag containing a large amount of cash and three knives were also found in the suspect’s possession.

James Wersick. Credit: Montgomery County Police

Wersick is suspected in the following bank robberies:

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  • January 27, 2012, approximately 9:35 a.m., M & T Bank, 10100 River Road, Potomac
  • January 8, 2014, approximately 9:15 a.m., Capital One Bank, 7340 Westlake Terrace, Bethesda
  • December 9, 2014, approximately 12:00 p.m., M & T Bank, 10420 Montgomery Avenue, Kensington
  • February 13, 2016, approximately 9:18 a.m., PNC Bank, 10211 Old Georgetown Road, Bethesda
  • February 13, 2016, approximately 9:46 a.m., M & T Bank, 10420 Montgomery Avenue, Kensington
  • August 4, 2020, approximately 10:09 am, PNC Bank, 10150 River Road, Potomac

According to police, Wersick allegedly entered the bank and began to yell at customers and employees, telling them to move to a corner.

The suspect then approached the teller, pointed a gun at her and demanded cash. He allegedly addressed the teller by her first name and told her he was watching her and new where she lived.

He then allegedly told others in the bank not to move and pointed the gun at them. The teller placed the money in his white bag

Police then learned that Wersick’s description matched that of a suspect who had committed a series of armed bank robberies.

During questioning, Wersick admitted to the other robberies.

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Wersick was transported to the Central Processing Unit and charged with six counts of armed robbery and additional charges related to those crimes.

CBS Baltimore Staff