HENRICO, VA (WWBT) - Henrico banks are curbing crime by controlling your clothing.
There's a bank in Henrico that was robbed five times in seven years. Then, staff started telling customers what they can't wear. There hasn't been a robbery since.
Rocky Burton likes to wear his sunglasses, but he just found out that if he keeps them on, he can't go in the bank.
"No, I wasn't aware of that," Burton said.
C&F Bank has 18 branches in Virginia, and all of them have a sign telling customers to remove their hats, hoods, and sunglasses. They must also put down their cell phones.
"It's a protection for our customers and for our employees," said branch manager Kitty Buckner.
Police persuaded the Eastern Henrico branch to ban these articles of clothing because history shows they're the wardrobe of choice for would-be robbers.
"When someone comes in with a hood up, you can't see their faces," Buckner said.
Anyone who is seen walking into the bank with a hat, sunglasses, or a cell phone will be asked to take them off, or put them away before being helped.
"And we explain why. We usually do not have any problems with it," Buckner said.
The C&F branch on Williamsburg Road has been robbery-free since the signs were installed about a year ago. With that kind of success, police are now working to ban the items at more banks, including Henrico Federal Credit Union.
"Well I think they need to do something, because these people come in with all kinds of hats and things on, and I think it's a great idea," said C&F customer Will McMillan.
When the hats and glasses are off, tellers feel more confident in their safety.
"We feel better about that, but we also have deterred some robbers by having that sign up," Buckner said.
For customers, keeping the items in the car is a small price to pay to access their own money.
"Safe for everybody that goes into the bank, and safe for everybody who comes out," said C&F customer Agnes Knowles.
The use of cell phones is being banned because a robber will oftentimes try to arrange the getaway driver during a robbery. But now, if a customer is on a call at these particular branches, he or she will have to hang up.
The ban does not have the force of law, rather it gives customers a clear understanding of expectations before they walk inside.