A 26-year-old man suspected in the Community One Bank robbery was apprehended Thursday night, less than nine hours after the incident occurred.
Phillip Jamal Jones, address unknown, was arrested by Rockingham Police Department officers with assistance from the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office, Richmond County Crime Stoppers and the Richmond County probation and parole office. Jones was wearing an ankle monitor after recently being released from prison.
Jones is currently being held at the Richmond County Jail on a bond slightly more than $1 million, including $1 million secured bond for the robbery charge and $1,000 for resisting arrest. He is expected to be represented by public defender Jason Deane.
It was that ankle bracelet “was the very thing that got him caught,” said an official involved with the investigation.
By software connected to the ankle bracelet, authorities were able to put Jones inside the bank at the time of the crime and watch, only a few hours after the fact, his route of escape. Jones allegedly stole $2,122 in cash from the bank, according to N.C. District Court records.
Court records indicate Jones assaulted a female bank employee by way of “putting her in fear of bodily harm by the threat of violence.”
Richmond County Crime Stoppers received only one tip on the incident but it was a good one. After the story broke on The Richmond County Daily Journal’s website and Facebook page, the story was seen by 5,944 individuals and shared 110 times.
One of those shares, the official said, caught the attention of someone on the web. That person recognized the photo taken from bank security video and called in a tip to Richmond County Crime Stoppers. The caller was able to provide Jones’ temporary address in an apartment complex not far from the Rockingham Road location of the bank.
The caller identified Jones as being on probation and wearing an ankle bracelet.
Shortly before 8 p.m., SWAT teams from the Rockingham Police Department and the Sheriff’s Office executed a search warrant at 1335 Cauthen Drive. Police said a short foot chase ensued when officers entered the resdience.
Jones was quickly apprehended, however. He was charged with common law robbery and resist, delay and obstructing an officer.
Rockingham Police Chief Billy Kelly said Jones gave the bank clerk a handwritten note with instructions. No one inside the bank was injured at the time the crime was committed, Kelly said. Jones did not use a weapon while committing the crime, Kelly said.
“I am very happy that we were able to apprehend this suspect so quickly,” Kelly said. “This arrest shows the dedication and hard work that the detectives and officers of the Rockingham Police Department put into closing cases. I also appreciate the assistance that was received from the Sheriff’s Department, Richmond County Crime Stoppers and various officers from Probation and Parole. Their information was vital to the successful arrest of thsi individual.”