According to an officer with the Walker County Sheriff’s Office, a lone gunman carrying two guns and a bowie knife fled the bank shortly after 3 p.m. Police have yet to report how much money was taken.
Meanwhile, Ed Frazier, owner of neighboring Smith Lake Realty, said he did not hear or see anything at the bank until the police showed up. “Our property backs up to the bank property, but a few pine trees obscure our view,” said Frazier, whose office is located less than 70 yards from the front entrance to the bank.
Initial reports led to an alert being issued on a blue SUV, but authorities later said they weren’t sure the SUV was involved in the incident. Walker County Sheriff’s deputies and investigators from the FBI combed the woods Friday afternoon near the bank after later reports indicated the suspect may have fled on foot.
Tim Thomas of the Walker County Sheriff’s Office said the initial description of the robber was that he was a white male with brown eyes who entered the bank in khaki pants, a black jacket or hoodie and a black ski mask.
Terry Townsend, minister of Curry Church of Christ located just north of the bank across Curry Highway, told police that a suspicious vehicle was parked in the church’s parking lot for at least three hours prior to the robbery.
He said a woman in her mid-30’s was maneuvering the dark red, late-model Toyota pickup truck around the church parking lot, always facing toward the bank. “I saw her there when I left to go to the gym around 12:30 and my son saw her there shortly after 3 o’clock. The funny thing is she appeared to be talking on a cell phone a lot,” Townsend said.
The robbery occurred only hours after bomb threats caused a lengthy evacuation at Walker Baptist Medical Center in nearby Jasper and closures of bridges spanning North 69 and South 269.
“What’s going on in the world today?” questioned Townsend.