Public asked to help find missing bank robbery money

By: Annick Joseph - Staff writer

LUMBERTON — Lawmen continue the hunt for the bulk of the money stolen during the armed robbery of PNC Bank in Lumberton.

“The money has not been found, yet,” Don Connelly, a U.S. Department of Justice spokesman, said Tuesday.

The missing $40,000 was taken from the bank’s vault on Jan. 23, according to facts presented in federal court during the April 18 arraignment of four men accused of robbing the bank at 700 N. Chestnut St.

Anyone who finds the money or has knowledge of its whereabouts is asked to call the Lumberton Police Department or the FBI, Lumberton police Capt. Terry Parker said. Anyone with information leading to the recovery of the money can remain anonymous.

“We would rather they call and show us where it’s found, so there’s no confusion,” he said.

Anyone caught with the stolen money can be charged with a crime, Parker said.

Having or spending the stolen money is a serious offense, said Richard Myers III, a University of North Carolina School of Law professor.

“Possessing stolen money with a dishonest purpose is a felony in North Carolina,” he said. “It is a class H, which, depending on criminal history and the presence of aggravating or mitigating factors, can range from four to 25 months in prison.”

Under federal law, possessing money from a bank robbery, knowing it to be stolen, is a felony with a 10-year sentence, Myers said.

The money was stolen when four heavily-armed masked men entered the bank and demanded money from the safe. As they left the bank, Lumberton police officers spotted a vehicle matching the description of the robbers’ getaway car and gave chase. Gunfire was exchanged, resulting in six Lumberton police cars and a Robeson County Sheriff’s Office vehicle being hit by bullets. No lawmen were injured.

Rashad Donavan Young, 26, of 421 W. Lewis St. in Whiteville, and Jeramie Ross Vaughn, 29, of Bitmore Road, entered guilty pleas on April 18 in Raleigh to one count of bank robbery and one count of discharging a firearm in furtherance of a bank robbery.

The pleas were part of a plea deal, the details of which were not revealed. Both will be sentenced at a later date, as will a fifth suspect, Demetrius Terel Smith, of 6536 Old Lumberton Road in Whiteville.

Smith entered into a plea agreement April 11 at the U.S. District Court in Elizabeth City. He pleaded guilty to making a false statement to federal agents. Court documents show he bought the gray Saturn used in the bank robbery, but denied doing so.

Demetris “Boo Boo” Sean Robinson, 26, of Golf Course Road in Whiteville, and Daquan Pridgen, 26, of Memory Twin Circle in Whiteville, pleaded not guilty on April 18 to participating in the bank robbery and were given 30 days to prepare their cases.

Annick Joseph

Staff writer

Reach Annick Joseph by calling 910-416-5165 or via email at [email protected] or Facebook Annick MultiMedia Journalist.

Reach Annick Joseph by calling 910-416-5165 or via email at [email protected] or Facebook Annick MultiMedia Journalist.