A Bethlehem Township woman was charged early Saturday with putting on a red nose and clown suit Friday morning and robbing the KNBT Bank three miles west of her house.
Carolyn A. Williams, 43, of 4321 Embur Terrace, was arraigned at 1:30 a.m. on charges of robbery, theft and receiving stolen property in the Friday heist in which she allegedly took more than $7,000 after telling a bank teller she had a bomb.
Williams, a mother of two, was sent to Northampton County Prison under $500,000 bail, according to township police Investigator Stephen B. Malitzki Jr.
Within minutes of the 10:35 a.m. robbery of the bank at 3933 Freemansburg Ave. in Bethlehem Township, police said they arrested Williams as she sat with a clown suit and cash on the front seat of a car parked at the township Municipal Park Complex.
Williams said she was coerced into the robbery, and police are looking into the story to see if it is credible, said Bethlehem Township Police Sgt. Gregory J. Gottschall. He would not say who Williams claimed had forced her to commit the heist.
"She wasn't clear about that," Gottschall said.
Williams was not wearing the clown costume, which looked similar to the one worn in the robbery, when she was spotted and taken into custody, police said. She had parked near the tennis courts on 2900 Farmersville Road, about a mile and a half from the bank, police said.
On Friday afternoon, police, fire officials and the Bethlehem Bomb Squad and an agent of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms were at the park complex investigating a suspicious package found in Williams' car. The township Community Center and surrounding roads were cordoned off by yellow police tape and fire engines.
Shortly before 5 p.m., township police reported the suspicious package was not a bomb.
Cash and several handguns also were found in Williams' car, police said, noting that the handguns were not used or mentioned during the bank robbery.
Reporters Frank Warner and Pamela Lehman contributed to this story.