CANTON (WWJ) – Police have a man in custody after a several hour standoff at a local bank branch where several employees were being held hostage after an attempted bank robbery.

Police were called to the Citizens Bank near Cherry Hill and Canton Center at around 3:30 p.m. Thursday in connection with the robbery.

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Several tense hours passed with police releasing few details on the suspect or number of hostages being held at the bank. Just before 8 p.m. the suspect left the bank with his hands over his head — the three hostages all safe.

Two hostages were released just after 7 p.m. At that time it was unclear if more hostages were inside.

Police negotiating with a man — believed to be armed — who had barricaded himself inside the bank after a failed robbery attempt. The Western Wayne Special Operations Team (SWAT) and FBI were on the scene assisting Canton police.

Richard Costantino, who owns nearby Rose’s Restaurant & Lounge, was unsettled by what he was seeing.

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“It just makes you think on how crazy people are these days and how unsafe, you know?” he said. “But Canton’s a pretty good area here so I think he picked the wrong town.”

Costantino said told WWJ Newsradio 950 officers came into his business and advised staff and customers to stay inside. “Let’s just hope everyone gets out (of the bank) safe,” he added.

Canton Center Road remains closed to traffic just north of Cherry Hill Road due to the high volume of police activity. Officers are diverting drivers away from the Canton Center and Saltz Road intersection, and are asking citizens to avoid the area while it’s still an active scene.

Police added in a statement: “Due to the nature of the situation, we are asking citizens to refrain from contacting the police department unless they need emergency assistance. Please refrain from calling to see if nearby businesses or the roads are open. Your cooperation is appreciated.”

Police and FBI officials have not released the name of the suspect or potential charges against him.

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