Photo by Corinne Nicholson
COVINGTON -- Covington Police Department officers and other area law enforcement personnel are searching for a suspect or suspects involved in the lunchtime armed robbery of BB&T bank.
The robbery of the branch located at the intersection of U.S. Highway 278 and Pace Street occurred around 12:50 p.m. Thursday. According to CPD spokesman Wendell Wagstaff, a lone black male entered the bank, brandished a handgun and demanded money. He fled in a silver Lexus with an undisclosed amount of cash. The car was later recovered in a wooded area between Interstate 20 and Old Atlanta Highway.
The black man was described as approximately 6 feet tall with a slender build and was said to be wearing an all-black windbreaker-type suit, a wig and sunglasses.
CPD officers were joined by the Newton County Sheriff's Office, the Porterdale Police Department, the Oxford Police Department and the Georgia State Patrol as a perimeter was formed and the search for the gunman commenced. Three canines and a GSP helicopter also assisted in the search, but by presstime no arrests had been reported.
Three Newton County schools -- Palmer Stone Elementary, Cousins Middle School and Challenge Charter Academy -- were put on lockdown for safety reasons while the search was in progress. Palmer-Stone students were dismissed at their regular time, while students at the other two schools were dismissed a few minutes early while law enforcement officers were present.
Wagstaff said the Atlanta Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation is assuming jurisdiction of the case and will be looking into the possibility of this robbery being connected to a recent series of metro Atlanta bank robberies, including the robbery of the Wachovia Bank on Dogwood Drive on Wednesday morning.
Two robbers in the Conyers bank heist were said to be wearing long black wigs and witnesses reported they were driving a silver Lexus.
Anyone with information regarding these robberies should call the Atlanta FBI office at 404-679-9000, the Covington Police Department at 770-786-7605 or the Conyers Police Department at 770-929-4206.
Also, tips can be given to the Covington PD anonymously by visiting their website at www.covingtonpolice.com and clicking on "Most Wanted" and then "Anonymous Tips."
In other crime news, Wagstaff said about an hour and a half before the bank robbery, someone phoned in a bomb threat to the Covington Wal-Mart, stating there was a bomb in one of the store's restrooms. Wagstaff said it was determined to be a hoax and business quickly resumed as usual.