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Authorities seek help in catching bank robber

Hazlehurst police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation areoffering up to a $2,000 reward for anyone who can help inapprehending at least one man suspected in the armed robbery of theBank of the South on Caldwell Drive in the early morning hours onMonday.

“If anyone was in that area yesterday morning, we need to knowif they saw vehicles parked at neighboring banks,” said SpecialAgent Jason Pack of the FBI. “We believe the suspects weresurveilling the bank for a couple of hours before it opened, andbefore they made their move.”

Officials say the robbery took place around 7:45 a.m. after theperpetrators disabled the surveillance camera at a neighboring bankfrom which they were watching for the Bank of the South employeesto get to work.

“They watched as the employees arrived and entered the bank andimplied thy had weapons,,” Pack said. “After that they took overthe bank.”

Hazlehurst Police Chief Kendrick Mitchell said the man whoentered the bank was a black male wearing a dark New York Yankeescap, a dark bandanna over his face, a dark shirt and jacket andblue jeans.

He said bank employees were not able to see which direction therobber escaped in because he had forced them into a lockedroom.

“Nobody saw which direction they fled in, because the bankemployees were enclosed in a room the suspect forced them into andthey couldn’t actually see which direction he left in,” Mitchellsaid.

Mitchell said there is more than one suspect, though there is nodescription on the second.

“The investigation shows there’s more than one, because theinside suspect was on walky-talky communicating with someone on theoutside,” he said. “That’s what we have right now. We have a coupleof leads that hopefully will pan out further in the investigationand are hoping to soon make an arrest.”

Both Pack and Mitchell agree that the suspects are not likely tobe local to the Hazlehurst area.

“From the description, and from talking to all the officers andinvestigators in the department, I think it’s not a local bandit,”said Mitchell. “We’ve got a community of around 4,500 people andare pretty familiar with everyone’s face by this time.”

Pack said there is not necessarily an indication that theserobbers have struck before, though their pattern is notunusual.

“There are some similarities to other robberies, but at thistime there’s no reason to say these are repeat offenders,” Packsaid.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Hazlehurst PoliceDepartment at (601)894-1181 or the FBI at (601) 948-5000.