Eddie Adonis Garnett, 35, of Augusta was in custody Thursday at the McDuffie County Law Enforcement Center after allegedly holding up the SunTrust Bank on Washington Road in Thomson. It was his second bank robbery in the Camellia City.
Mr. Garnett robbed the Allied Bank on Hill Street in 1997 and was apprehended just days later. According to the Federal Bureau of Prisons, he was released from prison on Nov. 4, just 13 days prior to the SunTrust robbery.
Jerry Stanphill, assistant chief of the Thomson Police Department, said witnesses at the bank called 911 around 12:20 p.m. and told operators that a black male had exited the rear door of the bank, jumped in a car and sped away toward Interstate 20.
"I pulled up to the bank (drive through), and the teller told me that the bank was being robbed and to call the police," said McDuffie County resident Ricky Hester, Jr. who called 911 and attempted to follow Mr. Garnett's car. "He hopped in the car and left from behind the bank. Then I got in my car to follow him."
Assistant Chief Stanphill said the witnesses who followed the suspect's car toward the interstate while still on the phone with 911 were "very instrumental in helping us catch him."
Thomson Police, Georgia State Patrol and McDuffie County Sheriff's deputies apprehended the suspect after he fled for the woods between the 184 and 185 mile markers on the eastbound lanes of I-20. Tires on his vehicle had been shot out by police during the pursuit.
According to Assistant Chief Stanphill, the suspect used no weapon and produced no note in the robbery. He said the suspect was wearing a mask and took an undisclosed amount of money.
Riley Stamey, the local SunTrust president, would not comment on Thursday's incident.
Gary Nicholson, special agent in charge of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation's Thomson office said on Monday that Mr. Garnett has officially been charged with a state warrant of robbery.
The Georgia Department of Corrections shows that Mr. Garnett was also convicted on two separate counts of theft by taking that occurred in Richmond County in 1987 and 1989.