WICHITA — Authorities are still looking for the two men who robbed the Sunflower Bank branch near 21st and Tyler on Monday morning.
The men, who wore ski masks, entered the bank in the 8700 block of West 21st Street at about 10:15 a.m. and ordered everyone to the floor at gunpoint. One of them grabbed a teller by the back of her hair and ordered her to open the bank vault.
The second ordered a teller to open a cash drawer, striking her on the back of the head with the butt of his gun.
They then left in what was described as a purple minivan. A motorist called to say they spotted someone throw a backpack from a similar-looking vehicle in the 6500 block of West Central a short time later, and that the backpack was "smoking," police said.
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Officers recovered the backpack, which had a dye pack inside, and an undisclosed amount of cash. Another motorist attempted to follow the suspected escape vehicle, but lost it near I-235, police said.
Another resident spotted two men get out of a maroon Dodge Magnum after it pulled up to a complex of townhouses at 31st Street South and West Street. Two men got out and ran off.
Authorities now believe the robbers switched vehicles at some point in their escape, FBI spokeswoman Bridget Patton said.
Cleaveland Traditional Magnet Elementary, near 33rd Street South and West Street, was in lockdown for about 90 minutes after that report.
A search of the townhouse complex and the surrounding neighborhood came up empty, police said.