Witness describes bank robbery encounter

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HILO — An eyewitness to a bank robbery Wednesday afternoon in Puna said the alleged perpetrator was “foul-mouthed and rude, but I never feared for my life.”


HILO — An eyewitness to a bank robbery Wednesday afternoon in Puna said the alleged perpetrator was “foul-mouthed and rude, but I never feared for my life.”

Millicent Cummings said she was standing in line at the First Hawaiian Bank Pahoa branch directly behind the robbery suspect, identified by police as 57-year-old Anthony Gover, when the incident occurred.

“He didn’t seem centered at all. He was definitely not his right mind. … And all of a sudden, I saw the knife,” Cummings said Thursday.

Cummings said there were two tellers on duty, including one she knows personally, and the alleged robber was positioned between the the tellers.

“He said, ‘Just give me the f——— money’ with the knife over the counter, kind of high. … He had to actually lift the knife so they could clearly see it,” she said.

Cummings described the knife as about 5-inches long with a straight blade tapering to the point and said she didn’t see the man point the knife directly at either teller.

“He was pointing it at the middle of them. He was showing them (the knife),” she said. “I’ve been in and out of New York City all of my life, since I was, you know, 4 years old, and I did not get the feeling he was violent. But, of course, I don’t care what appearances are. If somebody’s got a knife, I’m going to get out of harm’s way.”

Cummings said the man was wearing a dark hoodie and she didn’t get a “full frontal” view of his face. She said there was one other customer in the bank who was leaving as the robbery occurred. She said she left, as well, but stood in the doorway before exiting and raised her phone so the tellers would “know help was on the way, even though I was bolting.”

“It all happened very, very quickly. There was only a couple of actual sentences that were said before I saw the knife. And then I was gone,” she said.

According to police, no one was injured.

Cummings’ 8 1/2-year-old son, Maika‘i Pono Cummings was waiting in the car. She said he dialed 911 for her so she could report the robbery. As Cummings was leaving the parking lot, she saw her teller friend following the alleged bank robber on foot, and she decided to follow, as well.

“I’m following her because I’m concerned about her, because I’m in a car and she’s on foot. So we’re following him as he’s heading toward the (Pahoa Community Aquatic Center). And my son, who’s with me and I saw him go into the main entrance of the community center. And (the teller) is talking to the security guy,” she said.

According to Cummings, police responded “very quickly.”

“All the police officers were really professional,” she said. “And they were really great with my son, because my son is 8 1/2 and he was absolutely heroic. First, by dialing 911 quickly and giving me the phone so I could describe what was happening. … And he was a good eyewitness. He was even more in detail about what the man was wearing.”

Cummings described the teller as a hero, as well.

“She went after a bank robber who had a knife.”

Gover was taken into custody at the aquatic center, which is about 800 feet from the bank, police said, and cash and a knife were recovered. He was arrested on suspicion of first-degree robbery and second-degree theft and was still in custody Thursday afternoon as detectives continued to investigate.

A check of Hawaii court records show several minor offenses for Gover on three islands in 2016 and 2017, but no felonies.


He was sentenced to three days in jail on March 21 for disorderly conduct-fight threat and has a similar case pending from 2016, both on the Big Island. Gover was also sentenced on Aug. 16 on Maui to two days in jail for harassment, and there are unserved bench warrants from Honolulu courts for public drinking and violating park hours.

Anyone who witnessed the incident or who has information about it is asked to contact Detective Grant Todd at (808) 961-2381 or Grant.Todd@hawaiicounty.gov. Those who prefer anonymity may call Crime Stoppers at 961-8300.