Employees arriving for work Thursday at United Savings Bank, 1845 E. Fort Union Blvd., were surprised by an armed robber who had been hiding in the basement.

A male employee whose office was in the basement of the bank was the first to arrive for work and was confronted by a man wearing a ski mask and wielding a small, black handgun, said Salt Lake County Deputy Sheriff Bruce Clements.Sheriff's dispatchers were unable to tell the Deseret News whether an alarm company had reported a problem at the bank between the time the bank closed for the day Wednesday and the time of the robbery Thursday shortly after 8 a.m.

The robber first confronted the male employee in the basement of the bank, then took him upstairs at gunpoint when the two could hear other employees arriving. The gunman then forced a woman employee to open the bank vault and transfer a number of bags of money into a plastic bag. The robber probably took a considerable amount of money, Clements said.

Officers believe the robber got into the bank by breaking a basement window. One of the victims told officers they saw a woman in a small pickup truck in the parking lot who may have driven the robber away, but the vehicle description matches a truck driven by another bank employee who was arriving for work about the time the robber fled.

The robber is described as a white male in his 30s, approximately 5 feet 9 inches tall with dark eyes. He was wearing a blue coat with gray on the shoulders or sleeves.