Authorities have arrested the man they believe to be responsible for a pair of August bank robberies in Collegeville and Conshohocken, in which he wore Philadelphia sports team hats to conceal his face from security cameras.
According to an affidavit of probable cause, Conshohocken Police arrested Gregory Van Diepen, 30, of the 1000 block of Colwell Lane, Conshohocken, last Wednesday after they say he re-entered the same PNC Bank that he had and fled after being identified by employees.
Police say that as they were responding to the bank, they passed a vehicle and driver matching the description put out over radio, which also matched a description of the suspect from the prior robberies. Police pulled the vehicle over and took Van Diepen into custody without incident.
The arrest followed an investigation that involved both the Conshohocken and Collegeville Police Departments, along with the FBI. Conshohocken Police were searching for a 5-foot-8 white male who robbed the PNC Bank at 317 Fayette St. on Aug. 14 while wearing a Phillies t-shirt and ball cap. Police say the suspect entered the bank just before closing time and passed a note to the teller that said the suspect "had a loaded gun [and]…nothing to lose" and demanded money. He then fled in an unknown direction with approximately $2,400.
That caught the attention of Collegeville Police, who contacted Conshohocken PD after they matched photos of the PNC suspect to the in Collegeville on Aug. 6. In that robbery, police say the suspect was wearing a Philadelphia Flyers cap and handed a similar note to the teller. The suspect in both crimes was described as a 5-foot-8 white male in his late 20s.
On the day of Van Diepen's arrest, the manager at PNC called police when he recognized the same individual standing in line at the bank, wearing a red Philadelphia 76ers shirt and baseball cap. After the manager twice called out to the individual to remove his cap, bank employees say he fled the bank and drove away in a champagne-colored sedan. Police arrested him a short time later on North Lane in Plymouth Township.
In an ensuing investigation, police say multiple employees of the PNC Bank positively identified Van Diepen, and also identified similarities between the notes passed at both robberies. Police executed a search warrant of Van Diepen's apartment, in which they confiscated bank statements, photographs, a blue notebook containing handwritten notes, and a red Phillies baseball cap similar to the one worn in the PNC Bank robbery.
In addition, police say Van Diepen had been living with family members in both the Conshohocken apartment and at a residence in Collegeville. A family member identified the handwriting on the notes used in the robberies as being Van Diepen's, and told police he had been struggling with an addiction to pain medication, the affidavit said.
Van Diepen now faces multiple counts of robbery with threat of bodily harm, theft by unlawful taking, receiving stolen property, terroristic threats, and related charges. He was arraigned before district justice Deborah Lukens on Monday, Aug. 27 and placed into county jail. Bail was set at $150,000. Van Diepen is scheduled for a preliminary hearing on Sep. 5 at 10:30 a.m.