News 12 at 6:00, May 14, 2007
AUGUSTA, Ga.---Investigators say robbers are targeting bank customers depositing company money. Incident reports show it's happened to seven people in one month. The most recent case happened today at Bank of America in North Augusta, S.C. when a Belvedere elementary employee says someone snatched the school's ice cream money.
Similar cases of this "snatch-and-grab" style robbery have been reported throughout Augusta at the Gordon Highway Bank of America, the Wrightsboro Road Wachovia, and the Deans Bridge Wachovia located inside Kroger.
Most reports show these robberies are happening in the middle of the day. Augusta Golf Course employee Karen Prince says she thought she was safe in the crowded bank parking lot.
"When I turned around on the sidewalk, they were behind me, and they grabbed me." She said.
Then, she says they snatched the deposit bag, with more than a thousand dollars inside: "I was thinking "oh my gosh, I just got robbed! They took my deposit!"
Many of the other victims have similar stories. They're walking up to the bank during business hours to deposit money for their company. Then a man seems to appear from out of nowhere, he grabs the bag, and then he's gone. In each case, investigators say suspects hide out nearby to watch the parking lot. Then, they zero in on the person who seems to be the easiest target.
Sergeant Richard Roundtree says the thieves are targeting women carrying money they can use immediately after they steal it.
"The criminals are looking for quick cash and discarding the bags after the robberies," Sgt. Roundtree said.
Currently, robbers have made off with about ten thousand dollars. Investigators arrested Solomon Paschal in connection with several robberies in Richmond County. They're still trying to solve the other cases, including today's in Aiken County.