Three armed robbers who held up the Vineyard Haven branch of Rockland Trust remained at large Friday, as officials circulated a picture of a masked suspect caught on camera during the Thursday morning heist

In a news release, the Cape and Islands district attorney’s office said federal, state and local officials were continuing to investigate the robbery and asked for the public's help in providing any information about what appeared to be a Halloween mask worn by all three robbers.

Anyone with information was asked to contact the Tisbury police department at 508-696-4240 or state Trooper Dustin Shaw at 508-693-0545.

All three armed robbers wore the same mask. — District Attorney's Office

The release said Islanders should remain vigilant, but emphasized that the crime was targeted.

“Island residents...should not be overly alarmed. This was a targeted crime and there is no additional information that should cause undue fear,” said the statement, which was released late Thursday.

The robbery occurred at approximately 8:15 a.m. Thursday at the Rockland Trust bank branch off the Vineyard Haven-Edgartown Road. Police said three people in masks and gloves and armed with handguns rushed into the bank as employees entered to open the bank for business. 

Tisbury Police Chief Chris Habekost said the three individuals tied up bank personnel before escaping in a stolen vehicle that belonged to one of the bank tellers. The vehicle was later recovered on Barnes Road near the Manuel F. Correllus state forest.

A spokesman for Rockland Trust said that no bank staff were injured in the robbery.

“There were no injuries and everyone is safe,” the spokesman said. The bank branch remained closed Friday, though other branches of Rockland Trust reopened.

Tisbury police confirmed earlier Thursday that an armed robbery occurred, but could not say how much or what was stolen.

“I’m not at liberty to disclose that at this time,” Chief Habekost said.

Police investigated near the state forest Thursday morning after finding the robbery getaway vehicle. — Ray Ewing

Police and search dogs were also investigating outside the entrance to the state forest bike path Thursday.

Lieut. Bill Brigham with the Tisbury police department said the suspects wore black hoodies and white masks, but couldn’t provide further demographic details on the suspects. Police were analyzing video footage from the bank Thursday morning.

“With hoodies and masks . . . it’s really hard to get a physical description,” Lieutenant Brigham said. “The important thing is that no one was hurt.”

State police confirmed that they had flown in dogs to help with the search.

“We have a detective and crime scene personnel responding and are preparing to transport K9 teams to the Island via our Air Wing,” state police spokesman David Procopio said in an initial update.

Dogs assisted with the search. — Ray Ewing

In a strange twist early Thursday afternoon, police who had amassed at a Falmouth Holiday Inn in search of the supsects later confirmed that their investigation did not turn up any leads connected to the bank robbery.

According to a report from the Falmouth Enterprise, the search in Falmouth lasted about five hours, beginning around 10:00 a.m. as SWAT team members, FBI agents, armored vehicles and a K9 unit were on-scene at the hotel. Falmouth police chief Edward Dunne said in a short press conference that the investigation turned up no leads.

“Some information that was developed through the investigation led us into this hotel today,” Falmouth Police Chief Edward Dunne said. The investigation “concluded that the suspects are not here,” he said.

Police cleared the scene at 3:10  p.m., Chief Dunne said.

Chief Habekost said that the search on Martha’s Vineyard remained ongoing.

“These three individuals, if anyone sees them or suspects they see them, please do not approach them,” Chief Habekost said. “Call the police. They’re considered armed and dangerous.”

Steamship Authority ferries ran as usual throughout the day Thursday, according to SSA spokesman Sean Driscoll. Mr. Driscoll said the ferry service did not receive a request from police to stop service.

Suspects remain at large. — Ray Ewing

State police and agents from Federal Bureau of Investigation’s bank robbery task force arrived on the scene on Martha’s Vineyard at around 11 a.m. to assist in the incident response. A K9 search dog also arrived at the scene at approximately the same time.

All bank customers on the premises were instructed to remain in their cars while the investigation continued Thursday morning, although no customers had been inside the building at the time of the incident, police said. A man remained parked at the drive-through window for several hours at the scene Thursday morning.

“I can’t leave my car,” he shouted from his Volkswagen.

The man said he had been on the scene since 8:30 a.m.

“He’s been a good sport,” Tisbury Sgt. Andrew Silvia said. “We’re trying to get him out of here as soon as possible.”

The Martha’s Vineyard school superintendent’s office put out a notice shortly after the robbery that schools would go into lockdown.

“There’s been an incident in Tisbury,” the notice read. “Out of an abundance of caution schools are going to shelter in place.”

By Thursday afternoon, Island schools announced that they would close early, sending students home for the day out of an abundance of caution.

At the direction of law enforcement, banks across the Island shuttered their lobbies after the robbery Thursday, although drive-through windows remained open.

State and federal law enforcement officers left Rockland Trust site around 11:30 a.m. The bank building remained cordoned off with caution tape, as officers from Vineyard Haven continued to mill about the scene.

Chief Habekost said late Thursday that the investigation was now in the state police’s hands, but that the Island police departments would continue to assist in the investigation and the search process on Martha’s Vineyard. He then took a moment to catch his breath.

“It’s been a whirlwind,” he said.

Noah Asimow contributed reporting.