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Bank robbery investigators clear suspect, continue search for culprit

Police may have linked a third bank heist to a man they think hit banks in Thomson and Watkinsville last week.

Capt. Steve Morris of the Columbia County Sheriff's Department said Tuesday that there were similarities between those two robberies and one that occurred at Federal Credit Union on Bel Air Road on Nov. 3. In that robbery, a man described as a heavy-set white male, possibly between the ages of 30 and 40, made off with an undisclosed amount of cash. Anyone with information should contact the Columbia County Sheriff's Department at 706-541-2800.

Meanwhile, the former district attorney of the Piedmont Judicial Circuit is no longer considered a suspect in the bank robberies, The McDuffie Mirror has learned.

"The individual, where a search warrant was executed at his home in Franklin County last Friday, has been cleared of any connection with the bank robberies," according to John Bankhead, a spokesman with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

A search warrant was executed at the home of Tim Madison, former district attorney, according to Franklin County Sheriff Steve Thomas.

Sheriff Thomas, contacted at his residence last Saturday, said it was his understanding that state and federal authorities were looking for evidence that may have linked the former prosecutor to the bank robberies.

Special Agent John Heinen, agent in-charge of the GBI office in Athens confirmed that authorities served a warrant at a residence in Franklin County. Agent Heinen said he could not confirm the name of the person who lived there, because GBI policy prohibits such. He also declined to say what, if anything, was taken from the residence.

One lawman, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said Mr. Madison bore a "strong resemblance" to the man that robbed the banks in Thomson and Watkinsville.

Mr. Madison's attorney, Ed Tolley of Athens, said last Friday that his client had fully cooperated with authorities in their investigation of the bank robberies and that he had provided an alibi.

Mr. Madison along with his wife, Linn Jones, who had worked in the district attorney's office, along with former assistant district attorney, Brett Williams, were all indicted by a grand jury last summer. The Madison couple are jointly charged with forging timecards for hours never reportedly worked by Ms. Jones in Banks County back in 2005 and 2006. Mr. Madison and Mr. Williams each are charged with theft and violating oaths of office as court officials.

All three defendants have pleaded not guilty to the charges. Mr. Madison since has resigned from office.

Thomson Police Chief John Hathaway said Mr. Madison's name was provided to him by McDuffie County Sheriff Logan Marshall and GBI Agent Teddy Jackson on Dec. 4 - just a day after the Regions Bank branch, located on West Hill Street, was robbed.

"We knew that name fairly quickly," Chief Hathaway said.

Authorities are now resuming their investigation and search for a suspect in the bank robberies of the bank in Thomson and the robbery at Athens Bank and Trust on Epps Bridge Parkway.

Agent Heinen and Gary Nicholson, agent in-charge of the GBI office in Thomson said the public's help is being sought in connection with the bank robberies. Anyone with information is asked to contact the GBI in Thomson at 706-595-2575, the Athens GBI office at 706-542-7901, the Augusta FBI office at 706-722-3702 or the Thomson Police Department at 706-595-2166.

Web posted on Thursday, December 13, 2007

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