Suspects quickly caught in Bank of America robbery

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 16, 2011

SALISBURY ó A tracking device slipped to a suspect during an armed bank robbery Wednesday helped police arrest two men after a chase that started on Statesville Boulevard and ended just outside Spencer.
Salisbury Police officers responded around 10:40 a.m. to a reported robbery at the Bank of America branch at 200 Statesville Blvd.
Two men came into the bank with handguns and pointed them at bank employees. One man jumped the counter and demanded cash. The two then left the bank with an undisclosed amount of money.
While on their way to the bank, police learned the suspects had been handed a tracking device during the robbery, which was relaying their route to officers. Some officers secured the bank and checked on employees while others followed the suspects.
Police detectives in an unmarked vehicle caught up with the suspects, who were driving a minivan, on Seventh Street Extension on the outskirts of Spencer. When police tried to stop the van, the driver sped up and crashed into a tree on Yadkin Avenue at 11th Street.
Following the crash, both men fled on foot. Police quickly captured one man. The second man kept running, but police caught up with him in a wooded area a few blocks away and shot him with a Taser before taking him into custody.
Jeffery Wayne Clawson, 44, of Greensboro, was in the Rowan County jail under $500,000 bond Wednesday afternoon, charged with robbery with a firearm or other dangerous weapon.
His first court appearance is set for Friday.
John Davis, 57, of Connecticut, was taken to Rowan Regional Medical Center for evaluation after complaining of stomach pain during the booking process. He was not yet in the county jail Wednesday afternoon.
Salisbury Police Chief Rory Collins credited several factors for the quick resolution of the case.
ěTechnological advancements used by banks allowed our officers to track the suspects following the robbery. This was extremely helpful to us, as the likelihood of such a quick capture would have been significantly less without it,î Collins said in a press release.
Collins also praised ěexceptional communications from our dispatch center to our troops as well as great teamwork by those officers who responded to help with the perimeter and capture of the suspects.î
With the chase winding from the Salisbury bank into the county and then into Spencer, the Salisbury officers also got help from the Rowan County Sheriffís Office, the Spencer and East Spencer police departments and Rowan Communications, which coordinated the other agencies, Collins said.
ěEach of the law enforcement agencies throughout Rowan County work very well together and are always there to assist one another when the need presents itself. I am very grateful to each of them for helping us get these two guys off of our streets,î he said.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation is assisting in the case, as it does with all bank robberies.
Collins also took the opportunity to warn residents to be careful during the holiday season, which typically sees an increase in robbery, burglary and theft. Some tips he provided are:
Keep a light on, or possibly on a timer, at the house when not at home; try not to go to malls and stores alone; and remain constantly aware of your surroundings.
ěI further suggest that citizens, as well as merchants, not hesitate to call the police if they see anyone acting suspicious. Even though we may determine that there is no problem, I would much rather receive the call to check,î he said. ěThough we cannot prevent all of this type of activity, with the practice of common sense and help from the community, we can certainly prevent some.î