String of bank robberies stuns 20-year veteran cop

Posted at 7:00 PM, Jun 14, 2012
and last updated 2012-06-14 19:03:27-04

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WTVR) - Police have arrested a man for a Thursday bank robbery just a day after a rash of robberies left police scrambling.

Police said the suspect hit the Suntrust Bank on Hull and 16th streets in Richmond and then ran off on foot.

CBS 6 crews were in the area as police used a K-9 unit to track the robbery suspect. Hours later, city detectives arrested 43-year-old Rodney Smith at his South Richmond home just a day after a string of robberies.

Henrico police said that the string of robberies in the county Wednesday are their top priority.

Henrico Police Lt. Greg Dillard told CBS 6 News' Sandra Jones that in his 20 years on the force, he's never seen three bank robberies in one day -- and that they really drained the department's manpower.

Dillard said the county's robbery squad is working to track down three suspects involved in the three separate robberies Wednesday in Western Henrico.

Additionally, Dillard said that detectives have received a number of leads and tips into Crimestoppers with information about the robberies.

Police said the suspects handed the teller a note, but did not display a weapon. Investigators said two of the three robberies were happening simultaneously, within an hour.

"I have no information as to whether they're related or not," said Dillard.

Jones asked Lt. Dillard why police cannot release more information about the robberies.

"Criminals could get rid of some evidence that we're looking for, if they know what we're coming to look for, things of that nature," said Dillard. 

Richmond police also could not say it the robberies in the city were connected to the ones in Henrico County.

John Ellis was relieved that police made an arrest in Thursday's robbery.

"Sixty-nine years I've been here -- and I've never seen anywhere near like I've seen now," said Ellis. "And I don't know what the end is."

Ellis said he thinks a poor economy is to blame for the bank robbery spree.

"You got soldiers coming back from overseas... They're losing homes and everything," said Ellis. "Our country is in terrible shape."

Stay with CBS 6 News and for the latest updates on this developing story.