Police say bank robberies possibly linked - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Police say bank robberies possibly linked

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June 21, 2006

Tifton-- Police are on the lookout for a man who robbed one, possibly two South Georgia banks in two weeks. Investigators say the same man may have robbed banks in two towns along Interstate 75, Tifton and Cordele. The big question is, should banks in other interstate towns be on guard?

The two robberies both happened in the afternoon hours.  The first was at BB&T in Tifton June 5th but still no arrests. "It's only a matter of time," says Investigator Ricky Day of Tifton Police.

There was one surveillance picture that investigators were able to work with from that robbery. Day says the man entered the bank with his own bag, showed a gun and demanded money. "Anybody with a gun that's robbing banks, I would consider dangerous," says Day.

And the robber was bold.  The bank is located right down the street and in clear view of the Tifton Police Department. He was in and out in less than three minutes. "There's been folks in the community who have come forward with leads here," says Day.

But as Tifton authorities still worked on leads to the June 5th robbery, their law enforcement neighbors to the North opened a new case only two weeks later. A man, looking much like the Tifton robber, entered a Regions Bank in Cordele and got away with money using a gun.  Both surveillance pictures show striking similarities and it seems the robber is using a familiar road, the interstate.

"When you get two that are similar along the same stretch of the interstate, it certainly is a warning flag," says Day. Other than Tifton and Cordele, several South Georgia cities line I-75 including Ashburn, Adel and Valdosta so law enforcement agencies all over South Georgia are now on the lookout.

"Had a lot of correspondence with other agencies especially the Valdosta Police Department," says Day. They're putting their heads together to catch the robber who could be headed north, back south, or in between. 

There's no way to tell right now but Day feels one thing is certain. "Every place he goes to, he leaves more evidence," says Day. He's waiting to see just how bold the robber will continue to be. "He's either really bold and feels like he has nothing to lose or he's just not real smart," says Day.

Law enforcement officers are banking on outsmarting him before he illegally withdraws money again.

The Tifton Police Department will compare notes with Cordele police on the recent robberies. A lab here in Albany is still examining fingerprints from the Tifton bank robbery.

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