Bank robber quickly caught, cash recovered 1/30/2015

Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 29, 2015


Bank robber quickly caught, cash recovered

By John Howell
Batesville Police Chief Tony Jones credited good descriptions provided by Renasant Bank employees and a response from numerous law enforcement officers for the arrest of a suspect in a Monday afternoon bank robbery suspect.

The bank employees, Jones said, were able to tell the first responding officers what the suspect and his vehicle looked like and his direction of flight west on Perkins Lane.

That in spite of the robber having fired his handgun inside the bank during the robbery.

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“He shot one time into the wall,” the police chief said. “Don’t know whether it was an accident or whether he was trying to scare them.”

“Everybody here is doing very well, given the circumstances,” Batesville Renasant branch president Jason Johnson said on Thursday. “We are  just trying to get back to business as usual.”

Law enforcement officers were notified by alarm at 12:53 p.m. that there was an emergency at the bank on Bates Street at Perkins Lane. By 1:48 p.m., officer had arrested a suspect, later identified as Jonathan Turner, age 22 of 1573 Shell Road, Batesville, into custody.

“They gave us a really good description — all black (clothing) with a black hood … seen leaving in a gray car,” Jones said.

As the robber fled down Perkins Lane and onto Highway 6, “Phone calls were coming in so fast,” the police chief continued.

The suspect car headed west on Highway 6 and was spotted turning north on either Shell or Nash Roads. Later, the car was spotted stopped along the roadside where officers later recovered a bag of money.

“He stuck the money in a culvert; hid it pretty good,” Jones said.

Jones said that a state trooper made first contact. He was later stopped at the intersection of Nash and Seven Roads and taken into custody.

“We had so many people out there helping us,” Jones said, naming Sheriff Dennis Darby and Panola County Sheriff’s Department, Mississippi Highway Patrol, U.S. Marshals, Dept. of Wildlife, Parks and Recreation officers, Panola Narcotics Task Force, Emergency Management Agency, Second District Constable Ray Hawkins and a Crowder police officer who was in the vicinity.

“With all those people out there we just enclosed that road.”

Coordinated emergency radio communication among various law enforcement agencies that began following Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and came to fruition with the Mississippi Wireless Integrated Network (MSWIN) also assisted in the rapid capture of the suspect.

“Everybody was able to talk to everybody,” Panola Emergency Management Director Daniel Cole said.

Still not recovered is the handgun used in the robbery.

“He told me he threw it in the river,” Jones said.

FBI agents interviewed Turner late Monday. He is charged with armed robbery and simple assault.