APD tracks leads in bank robbery

Published 12:00 am Saturday, August 26, 2006

AHOSKIE – The search continues for a masked gunman.

Major Jimmy Asbell of the Ahoskie Police Department said Friday that the investigation continues into the Aug. 2 armed robbery of the RBC Centura Bank branch located on Church Street.

“We’ve got a couple of leads that are being studied very closely,” Asbell said. “We are hopeful these leads will take us closer to making an arrest in this case.”

The FBI is assisting the Ahoskie Police in the investigation.

Bank employees provided information on the morning of the robbery, telling police investigators that a black male entered the east side door of the bank shortly past 10 a.m. Once in the main lobby of the bank, the armed suspect jumped on the teller’s counter and demanded money. His request was obliged as he left the bank, through the same door, with an undisclosed amount of cash.

He was last seen leaving the bank parking lot on foot.

One eyewitness offered information that the suspect was seen prior to the robbery heading towards the bank from South Catherine Street.

The Ahoskie Police Department was notified of the robbery at 10:11 a.m. They quickly converged on the area and sealed off the parking lot. Adjacent streets were closed moments later.

Launching a manhunt, the Ahoskie Police n aided by the Hertford County Sheriff’s Office and North Carolina Highway Patrol n searched the general area near the bank. A tracking dog from the Gates County Sheriff’s Office picked-up a scent from the east side door, following it to an area on South Street behind Basnight’s. There, the dog lost the scent.

Using eyewitness accounts as well as images taken from the bank’s security cameras, the suspect is of medium build and weight. He was seen wearing a white “Gilligan” style hat (with brim all the way around), a long-sleeved blue and white shirt (with vertical stripes), tan pants and black boots.

Still photos taken from the recording tape also revealed the suspect wore latex gloves and a mask covering his nose and mouth.

The camera’s first glimpse of the suspect came when he entered the main lobby. A handgun is evident in his right hand. A second photo shows the suspect crawling on the outside edge of the teller’s counter while a third was taken after the suspect had leaped to the floor.

Those with any information concerning the robbery are urged to contact the Ahoskie Police Department at 332-5011 or the FBI office in Elizabeth City (1-800-209-2293).

Meanwhile, the North Carolina Bankers Association of Raleigh has posted a reward of up to $5,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of individual involved.