Bank robbers nabbed

Published 4:46pm Thursday, January 9, 2014

WINDSOR – Two Edenton men, both with an adult life full of criminal activity, are in custody after a late afternoon bank robbery here Thursday.

Michael Rankins
Michael Rankins

William Chadwick Twine, 45, and 50-year-old Michael Rankins each stand charged with armed robbery and assault by pointing a gun. Bond has been set at $400,000 for Rankins and no bond for Twine, as he, as of Friday afternoon, had refused to give a DNA sample, as required by state law.

Fortunately, no one was injured in the bank, from where the suspects made off with an undisclosed amount of cash.

Windsor Police Chief J.T. Lane said at approximately 4:24 two male subjects entered the Wells Fargo Bank on South King Street. Lane said the two subjects proceeded directly to the teller counter and demanded money. One of the suspects brandished a handgun while the other suspect shouted demands.

During this time, according to the chief, two bank tellers were able to slip out the rear entrance of the bank and proceed to the Lawrence Memorial Library next door where a 9-1-1 call was placed.

Police response was immediate and witnesses advised arriving officers the suspects had fled on foot north on King Street then drove back by the bank in a small white vehicle.

William Twine
William Twine

Officers from the Windsor Police Department, Bertie Sheriff’s Office, NC State Highway Patrol and Probation and Parole saturated the area of old US 17 North.

At 4:31 p.m. a citizen telephoned in and advised authorities the suspect vehicle was traveling north in the 1500 block of South King Street.

Windsor Police Lieutenant Ricky Morris and NCSHP Trooper J.C. Copeland were at the intersection of Wakelon Road and Old US 17 when the suspect vehicle drove past their location still traveling north on Old US 17.

Lt. Morris proceeded to pull out and follow behind the suspect vehicle and when the officer activated his blue lights the suspects attempted to flee at a high rate of speed, Lane reported. Lt. Morris then yielded to Trooper Copeland who took over the primary position behind the suspect vehicle. Windsor Police Officer Krystan Fleming and BCSO Deputy Scott Outlaw also joined in the pursuit.

The pursuit continued north on Old US 17 when the suspect vehicle ran off the road and overturned. The suspects fled on foot across a field but were quickly apprehended by law enforcement officers.

“This was an excellent example of law enforcement agencies working together in a crisis situation,” said Lane. “We would like to thank the Bertie Sheriff’s Office, the North Carolina State Highway Patrol, Probation and Parole, and Bertie Communications Center for their immediate response and assistance.”

The chief went on to praise the citizen public for their assistance in the apprehension.

“Let’s also not forget the citizens who witnessed this robbery,” Lane added. “These citizens provided accurate descriptions of the suspects, their vehicle, and direction of travel. Without the involvement of these citizens the outcome of this robbery may have been much different.”

Both suspects have extensive criminal histories and have served time behind bars for a laundry list of crimes.

According to records from the North Carolina Department of Corrections, Rankins served 14 years of a 15-year, five-month term for two separate cases of robbery with a dangerous weapon. Those offenses respectively occurred in January and March of 1997, both in ChowanCounty, and he began his term in prison in September of the same year. Eleven days into his time behind bars, Rankins escaped and was captured.

He was previously charged in 1985 with assault and battery, and larceny of firearms; in 1984 for resisting a law enforcement officer, and larceny after breaking and entering. All those crimes occurred in ChowanCounty.

Beginning in April of 1982, Rankins served a 23-month stretch in jail for a pair of Chowan County crimes in January of that year – felony aid and abet breaking and entering, and aid and abet larceny. Prior to that he served a short stint in jail for a 1980 crime (felony larceny), also in Chowan County.

Twine has also lived a life of crime, according to the DOC records. His longest prison term was 18 years and five months after being convicted for a pair of 1991 Chowan County crimes – felony first degree burglary, and felony first degree kidnapping.

He previously served two years of an eight-year prison term taking indecent liberties with a child in Chowan County in 1989.

In 1987, Twine spent four months in the Chowan County Jail for assault on a female and damage to property.

Prior to that he was placed on probation for a series of misdemeanors, all in Chowan County – simple assault/affray, damage to property, and injury to real property, all in 1986.

His first criminal offense came in 1984 for felony larceny.

(Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald Editor Cal Bryant contributed to this story.)

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