Saturday, January 8, 2011

Off-duty Alabama officer makes bank robbery arrest

FLORENCE AL Jan 8 2011 - Quick reaction by an off-duty police officer foiled the escape of a suspected robber at Compass Bank on Cox Creek Parkway.

Angela Corrine Shuttleworth, 20, of Clearwater, Fla., is charged with first-degree robbery and making a terrorist threat in connection with the Friday afternoon robbery of the bank, police said. The bank is north of the Florence Boulevard and Cox Creek Parkway. The robbery was reported at 2:03 p.m.

Shuttleworth is accused of entering the bank and handing a teller a handwritten note indicating she was robbing the bank. The teller handed over an undetermined amount of money. Florence police detective Kevin Jackson said the note also indicated the robber was armed.

Meanwhile, an off-duty patrolman, Luke McIntyre, was in the bank conducting personal business when another teller told him the woman had just robbed the bank, Lt. Eric Nichols said.

“(McIntyre) waited for the lady to leave the bank and he followed her into the parking lot where he apprehended her and took her into custody,” Nichols said. “Her robbery was short-lived. From the time she entered the bank until the time she was taken into custody was no more than five minutes.”

Nichols said no one inside the bank was injured. Witnesses said there were four employees and two other customers in the bank.

After being taken into custody, Nichols said Shuttleworth was taken to the Florence Police Department where she was questioned and charged. Detectives said she refused to cooperate and asked for a lawyer.

Nichols said the money taken from the bank was recovered in the parking lot. Police have not found a weapon.

Meanwhile, a man who thought he was witnessing a assault on a woman pulled into the bank's parking lot as McIntyre was making the arrest.

Donnie Reyes said he and his wife were going to get something to eat when they saw a guy on top of a woman in the bank parking lot.

“I pulled in to see if she needed help or what was going on,” Reyes said. “The man never told me he was a (police) officer; he just pulled out a gun, pointed it at us and started cursing and telling us to stay in the car.”

Reyes said when patrol units got there, they pulled him out of his car and handcuffed him and kept their guns on his wife. He said they told him he could be charged as an accomplice to the robbery.

McIntyre said he didn't know whether Reyes was with the bank robber when Reyes approached him in the parking lot. He said while he was trying to control Shuttleworth, Reyes pulled up, cursing and threatening him.

Nichols said the most dangerous time of the entire arrest was when McIntyre came out of the bank and took Shuttleworth into custody.

“He had no idea if there was someone in the parking lot waiting on her or what,” Nichols said. “Luke said the number one concern he had after trying to control (the robber) was who was next.

“Under the circumstances, Luke had to take control of the situation, and the man was taken into custody. Even after I got (to the bank), we still thought it was possible that (the man) was involved with the bank robbery.”

Nichols said officers were finally able to get things sorted out and Reyes was released.

The robbery forced the bank to close early Friday; however, several customers continued to try and do banking despite the noticeable presence of law enforcement officers and large signs posted on the bank doors and drive-in windows.

Authorities said they don't believe Shuttleworth acted alone, and detectives are continuing to look for an accomplice.

Detective Kevin Jackson said it is believed that someone let Shuttleworth out of a car and she walked to the bank.

“And we believe whoever the accomplice is, was coming back to pick her up,” Jackson said.

Anyone who saw Shuttleworth getting out of a car near the bank about 2 p.m. is asked to call police at 256-768-2728 or CrimeStoppers at 256-386-8685.

Shuttleworth is being held in the Lauderdale County Detention Center without bail.

First-degree robbery is a Class A felony punishable by 10 years to life if convicted. Making a terrorist threat is a Class C felony and carries a penalty of one to 10 years in prison if convicted.

The FBI is assisting in the investigation.

Source:Times Daily

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