Davidson County armed robbery suspect still at-large in Rowan

Published 12:10 am Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Authorities continued their search for a man officials say robbed a Welcome bank Tuesday morning, headed south on Interstate 85 and crashed on a frontage road in Rowan County. The man, identified as Randy Earl Asbury, fled on foot into a wooded area.

According to the Lexington Dispatch, Asbury, 61, is accused of robbing the NewBridge Bank, 6132 Old U.S. 52, around 11:18 a.m. He walked into the bank, armed with a knife, demanded money and left with an unknown amount of cash.

He is described as a white male, 5 feet 7 inches tall and weighs 250 pounds. Asbury has a long beard and thinning gray hair. He escaped from Federal Correctional Institution Gilmer, a medium security prison in West Virginia on June 24, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons. He was reportedly supposed to appear at a halfway house.

Multiple agencies searched for Asbury a few miles from the Rowan-Davidson County line including the Davidson County Sheriff’s Office, Rowan County Sheriff’s Office, East Spencer Police, Spencer Police, Landis Police, N.C. Department of Public Safety, and the N.C. Highway Patrol.

Several of those law enforcement agencies deployed K-9s to search the area including along I-85 and Mill Run Road around 1:30 p.m. where Asbury crashed the dark green Saturn he was driving before taking off into the woods. N.C. helicopters hovered over the interstate and areas in around Mill Run Road searching for Asbury.

The Lexington Dispatch reports the law enforcement pursuit was initiated after a Davidson County detective “staked out” a grocery store and observed the vehicle. The Lexington paper also spoke with Davidson County Sheriff David Grice who told them Asbury stole the license plate from a disabled vehicle on the roadside in Davidson County.

The vehicle belongs to a friend, who according to the paper, did not give Asbury permission to use the vehicle.

This is not Asbury’s first time escaping from a prison facility. In a 1974 article written in The Dispatch, the paper says a teenaged Asbury walked out of a unlocked gate at a prison camp in 1970.

Asbury was serving time in the West Virginia prison following a 2003 arrest in Rowan County after he robbed two Lexington banks. In that incident, Asbury led deputies on a high-speed chase across the county line before he slammed into a cable barricade on I-85 in Salisbury.

Police arrested a bloodied then 49-year-old Asbury who crashed the getaway car, a Mazda Protege that he’d test driven. He’d robbed Lexington State Bank in Davidson County and earlier in the week robbed a different Lexington State Bank. Asbury nearly ran over a Salisbury Police officer who had deployed stop sticks in that incident.

Anyone with information as to the whereabouts of Randy Earl Asbury is asked to contact your local law enforcement agency.