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South Georgia minister is bank robbery suspect

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By Len Kiese - bio | email

August 8, 2008

LEESBURG, GA (WALB) - Authorities are investigating a bank robbery in Leesburg. The confessed robber is a South Georgia minister.  

Police say 51-year-old Jim Creason, music minister at a church in Edison, walked into the Heritage Bank branch in Leesburg Friday afternoon and robbed it.

Creason's ex-wife used to work at that bank branch. Police caught him just minutes after the robbery and he told them he was financially desperate.

There were some scary moments for those bank employees Friday afternoon but they were able to think quickly in their time of fear. After being locked up, they triggered an alarm to alert authorities. Within minutes they were in pursuit of the suspect.

James Creason was brought out of the Leesburg Police Department at about 5:15 Friday afternoon on his way to jail. He was arrested just minutes after the robbery. Police and Sheriff's deputies caught up with him and his Chevrolet Avalanche within minutes on Lovers Lane Road.

When he pulled over, police say he handed over the bank bag and the bank surveillance videotape he had taken. He told them he was sorry and he had fallen on hard times. Leesburg Police Chief Charles Moore is happy the arrest came quickly and without incident.

"This is what you call teamwork between the Lee County Sheriff's Department and the Leesburg Police Department. That's what matters, teamwork. It took all of us to do it," said Moore.

Authorities took the money bag back to the bank to count the cash. They also found a gun in Creason's truck. The next part of the investigation includes reviewing that surveillance tape he tried to get away with.

Police tell us that James Creason is a former Associate Pastor at the First Baptist Church of Leesburg. He had moved to Gwinnett County but had since returned.

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