Three charged in Ararat
Three Winston-Salem, N.C., men have been arrested in connection with the armed robbery of Carter Bank and Trust in Ararat, according to Sheriff Dan Smith.
Jamel Clifton Allen, 36, and Devin Montae Robinson, 22, were both indicted on Oct. 24 in United States District Court in Roanoke.
Both men were charged with armed bank robbery, conspiracy to commit bank robbery and use of a firearm while in commission of a crime of violence.
Both Allen and Robinson are being held in federal custody.
Also charged is Diarus Mark Raynor, 21, who is facing charges of bank robbery and conspiracy to commit bank robbery. Raynor has been released on bond.
All three suspects are waiting for trial dates to be set.
Smith said the indictments had been sealed for investigative purposes by the U.S. Attorney's Office until the decision was recently made to release the information.
The sheriff said that more arrests are imminent and the investigation is continuing.
Officers responded to a hold-up alarm at Carter Bank and Trust in Ararat at 9:39 a.m. on Aug. 2.
Bank employees advised deputies that a male subject entered the bank with his face covered, displayed a firearm, and demanded money, Smith said.
An accomplice in a vehicle was allegedly waiting outside for the gunman and the two sped away with an undisclosed amount of money.
A witness attempted to follow the suspect vehicle, and one of the suspects allegedly fired multiple shots at the witness, Smith said.
Deputies located the getaway vehicle a short time later, abandoned in a nearby cemetery.
Patrick County investigators were later joined by Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents as more details were uncovered.
"We knew early on that multiple suspects were involved and that this crime had been planned in another state," Smith said.
Smith said he asked the FBI for assistance because of the interstate nature of the crime and because bank robbery is a federal offense.
"They brought an array of resources to the table that assisted us tremendously," Smith said.
The sheriff said his office's resources were exhausted during the robbery investigation, adding that hundreds of hours from numerous officers were spent to solve the crime.
"I am relieved and the Ararat community is relieved that this crime has been solved," Smith said.
Anyone with information related to the robbery is urged to contact Investigator Karen Weidhaas or Investigator Brian Hubbard at 276-694-3161.