Thursday, August 9, 2012
K-9 nabs bank robbery suspect
By SUE WATSON
The strong-arm robbery of BancorpSouth in New Albany drew lots of attention Thursday afternoon as the suspect was pursued through city streets, along Highway 15 and to the intersection of Highway 78.
As the flight ensued, New Albany police officers anticipated the suspect would go west toward Memphis, Tenn., and they were right, according to New Albany Police Chief David Grisham.
The policemen were assisted by about 50 or more officers with the Marshall County Sheriff’s Department, Union County Sheriff’s Department, Mississippi Highway Patrol, DeSoto County helicopter and patrols, Mississippi Department of Corrections, Mississippi Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks, Southaven police and maybe Olive Branch and Holly Springs officers, Marshall County Sheriff Kenny Dickerson said.
The suspect was unarmed and presented the teller with a note, Grisham said. He left the bank and once he was spotted by a New Albany police officer, who was tracing the money bag using a GPS locater inside it, he took notice and fled at a high rate of speed in an older model Toyota Camry and entered Highway 78.
“The chase was on,” said Grisham.
The suspect proceeded west toward Marshall County, the chief said, and attempted to negotiate an exit at the Potts Camp ramp when he lost control and rolled up the embankment to the fence line.
The suspect fled on foot into a heavily-wooded area and was pursued by the police officer until he was called out of the woods so Marshall County deputy Mike Garner and his K-9 partner (York) could go after the suspect, Dickerson said. At this time, the entire wooded area back to the river was surrounded by ground and air patrols.
“The bottom line is we pretty well had a ring around the area,” Dickerson said.
Moments afterward, the K-9 located money discarded in the woods and a little later found the suspect himself.
Meanwhile, back at the fence line off the interstate ramp, large amounts of extremely dry grass were ignited, likely by the catalytic converter on one or both cars, the sheriff said. The temperature was at the 100-degree mark. The suspect’s car and the patrol car in pursuit both caught fire and burned.
The suspect was treated for dog bites and transported to the New Albany jail where he was booked after about an hour and a half on the run. The robbery took place about 1:45 p.m., Dickerson said.
Grisham said an undisclosed amount of money was taken in the robbery and not all was recovered, some of which may have burned in the vehicle.
The suspect, Marlon Devon Thomas, 39, of 1600 block of Echles Street, Memphis, Tenn., made an initial appearance and his bond was set at $250,000, Grisham said. The suspect will face the October grand jury in Union County. Thomas was out on parole at the time of the robbery for crimes committed in DeSoto County, Grisham said.
He was proud the suspect was apprehended so quickly.
“You usually catch them right then or a long time afterward,” he said.
If convicted, the maximum sentence for simple bank robbery is 15 years in prison, he said.
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