Arriving to work at Jouvence Aveda at Reston Town Center Friday morning, Nazer Ahmad’s day proceeded as it always does. One of two workers at the store, Ahmad was helping a co-worker prepare the salon before it opened.
But about an hour later around 9:45 a.m., her day diverged from the norm when lights and sirens from police cars filled Democracy Drive, parking in front of the salon.
"I saw about seven cop cars on this street alone," said Ahmad of Herndon, who added that the police officers pointed their handguns and shotguns toward Mercantile Potomac Bank across the street. "[The police] blocked off the entire Reston Town Center."
Moments later, she received a call from a police dispatcher who told her that the bank had been robbed and that the robber may still be in the bank. Ahmad was told to lock the door and move to the back of the store.
According to police, a man wearing a ski mask and sunglasses entered the bank and displayed a handgun to the teller and demanded money. Initially worried about a possible hostage situation, police surrounded the bank because they hadn’t determined if the robber had left the bank.
Police were called to the bank at 9:44 a.m. According to the police report, the bank teller gave the robber cash and then retreated to a back room with the bank manager.
The Fairfax County Police Tactical Team first entered the bank and found that the robber had fled prior to police arrival. Other than the two employees, there was no one else in the bank, which is tucked between Rio Grande Mexican Restaurant and Jos. A. Bank Clothiers. No one was injured during the robbery.
"I looked out front and what seemed like all the police in the county were out in front of the bank," said Luis Ayala, a manager at Jos. A. Bank. Right after noticing the police cars, Ayala received a call from police telling him to find a safe place in the back of the store and stay put. "It was very, very scary for us," said Ayala. "Finally, police came in and said everything was all right."
Michael Bails of Franklin Covey, another store that is situated across the street from the bank, had a similar experience that morning. He watched as police pulled in front of the bank and drew their guns. "I assumed it had something to to do with the bank because I didn’t see any movement inside," said Bails. For a brief moment he saw members of the tactical team "all with their bulletproof vests" enter the bank to find out if the robber was still inside.
The suspected robber was described as a black male, 6 feet 2 inches tall with a large build. He was wearing a gray, white long sleeve turtleneck shirt, a black ski mask and sunglasses.
Police are asking that anyone with information to call Crime Solvers at 1-866-411-TIPS/8477 or Fairfax County Police at 703-691-2131.