Watchful workers likely averted robbery - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Watchful workers likely averted robbery

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Gilbert Lee Morris (Source: Dougherty Co. jail) Gilbert Lee Morris (Source: Dougherty Co. jail)
Kendall Robinson (Source: Dougherty Co. jail) Kendall Robinson (Source: Dougherty Co. jail)
Clifford Thomas  (Source: Dougherty Co. jail) Clifford Thomas (Source: Dougherty Co. jail)
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By Jim Wallace - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Three men arrested in an Albany bank parking lot Thursday are now charged with planning a robbery.

Albany Police say a sharp-eyed employee likely prevented a bank robbery. She saw the men acting suspiciously. Police took them in for questioning and now say they were obviously preparing to commit a violent crime.

When police grabbed the three men here in the Heritage Bank parking lot on Westover Boulevard, they had a loaded handgun, knives, pepper spray, and masks.

Bank security officials say they are not sure if the three men were planning on coming into the bank to stick it up, or attacking a customer out here in the parking lot. But they are sure that security training and procedures they give all employees paid off, stopping the attempt before it could occur.

25 year old Clifford Thomas, 22 year old Gilbert Morris,and 22 year old Kendall Robinson are charged with conspiracy to commit a crime, and possesion of tools in commission of a crime.

Bank security officials say an alert employee spotted them parked in front of the Heritage Bank in this white Cadillac.

"They were up to no good, whatever it was," said Heritage Bank Security Officer Bill Reilly.

The woman noticed them acting suspiciously, and for 20 minutes bank officials watched the three from the upper floors of the building until calling Police.

"They were parked and they kept getting in and out of the car. Opening the trunk. They weren't really coming in the bank. Then when they moved their vehicle. They were up closer and moved it and backed in so no one could get a tag number, that was when they decided that is enough, let's call Police," Reilly said.

Police found a gun, knives, pepper spray and masks in the car. Investigators say the three have made statements, but have not explained why they were in the bank parking lot.

Bank officials say all employees get security training when they are hired, and refreshers three times a year, and this is proof that it works.

If you do what you are supposed to do, everyone gets to go home at the end of the day," Reilly said.

Bank security officials say you should always stay alert when you are going in and out of any business in the parking lot for suspicious people. Through a string of armed robberies in Albany recently, Police have been recommending that business employees keep an eye on the parking lot for suspicious activity, and this proves that it does work.

Police aren't saying much as their investigation continues, but they do say other people could be arrested, and that Clifford Thomas could be a suspect in other robberies.

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