'Grandpa Bandit' allegedly strikes another bank
Elderly Covington man now suspected in 7 multi-state bank robberies

COVINGTON - Bobby Joe Phillips, 69, the Covington man who has been dubbed the Grandpa Bandit, is believed to have robbed two more banks in Georgia and Tennessee.

According to Special Agent Gary Kidder, spokesman for the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Knoxville, Tenn., field office, Phillips allegedly walked into the Tennessee Members First Federal Credit Union in Knoxville about 11 a.m. Friday and robbed it for the second time this month.

Kidder said Phillips, who was wearing a plaid shirt and baseball cap, had a gun tucked into his waistband.

According to the FBI spokesman, Warner Robbins authorities are also looking into the possibility that Phillips was involved with the robbery of bank there on Thursday. Authorities say a red 2003 Chevrolet S-10 pickup truck believed to be driven by the suspect was used as a getaway vehicle in the robbery.

In addition to these incidents, Phillips is suspected in five other bank robberies in Georgia and Tennessee, including First Georgia Community Bank in Covington on Sept. 20; Tennessee Members First Federal Credit Union in Knoxville on Nov. 1; First Tennessee Bank in Knoxville on Oct. 1 and again on Oct. 12; and the SunTrust Bank in Suwanee on Oct. 24.

In each of the robberies, Phillips allegedly presented a note to the teller demanding money.

Phillips is described as being about 5 feet, 10 inches tall and weighing about 170 pounds. He has gray hair, blue eyes and wears glasses. He also has tattoos on his forearms.

Authorities ask that anyone with information as to the whereabouts of Phillips call the FBI at 865-544-0751 or the CPD at 770-786-7605. Tips can be given to the CPD anonymously by visiting their Web site at www.covingtonpolice.com and clicking on "contact us" and then "secret witness."

According to the FBI, a reward is available for information leading to Phillips' capture.

Joel Griffin can be reached at joel.griffin@newtoncitizen.com.