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A former Davidson County deputy accused of bank robbery worked security there prior to robbery

Athey

JON C. LAKEY / SALISBURY POST Rockwell Police officers brought former Davidson County deputy Jeff Athey to the Rowan County magistrates office on Tuesday. Athey was charged with robbing the Rockwell F&M Bank early in the afternoon. Tuesday, February 6, 2018, in Salisbury, N.C.

By Shavonne Walker
shavonne.walker@salisburypost.com

A former Davidson County deputy accused of armed robbery at a Rockwell bank in February had worked security part-time at the bank prior to the robbery, federal court documents show.

Jeffrey Dean Athey, 51, entered the F&M Bank at 418 W. Main St. about 3:35 p.m. on Feb. 6 and showed a Glock 41 semi-automatic handgun. He requested $1,000 and then left the bank. Rockwell Police said within four minutes a Rowan Sheriff’s deputy pulled Athey over during a traffic stop after receiving a description of his silver late-model Ford Mustang.

He was stopped at U.S. 52 and Crescent Road. Law enforcement were said to have already been in the area in search of an impaired driver. Rockwell officials said Athey did not resist and was apprehended without incident.

After hearing of the news, Davidson County Sheriff David Grice terminated Athey the same afternoon. He’s worked for the Davidson County Sheriff’s Office for a number of years, left to work for the private military company formerly known as Blackwater, and then returned to the Davidson County Sheriff’s Office.

During Athey’s brief Rowan district court hearing in February, Judge Kevin Eddinger appointed Salisbury attorney Darrin Jordan. Athey was initially in the Rowan County jail under a $500,000 secured bond.

A federal magistrate signed an order Friday stating Athey would be held in a federal detention center pending a trial or plea hearing.

A federal arrest warrant was issued May 30 and Athey was indicted for armed robbery and brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence.

During a hearing, the federal courts heard from FBI Special Agent Jason Youngblood who investigated the robbery. According to documents, during this hearing, Athey did not present any evidence or witnesses, but his attorney, Darrin Jordan, did speak on his behalf.

Athey could receive a minimum of seven years just for the robbery alone.

Court documents show Athey was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and depression. He recently married and lived with his wife and her two children.

He worked at the bank during the prior Christmas holiday as a part-time security officer.

Jordan told the federal court that his client often worked in extremely hostile environments in both Afghanistan and Iraq and had prior work for Dynacorp International.

As to his client’s mental health issues, Jordan said, Athey had built a concrete bunker in his mother’s home. The bunker was outfitted with bells and cans to alert him if someone entered or approached, which was reminiscent of his living quarters in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Court documents said Jordan noted “the peculiarities of the alleged offense, including the demand for only $1,000…”

Documents further indicate that if any motions were submitted by either the federal government or by Athey’s attorney then a hearing would be conducted July 9 with a jury trial scheduled for July 16 in Greensboro.

Contact reporter Shavonne Walker at 704-797-4253.

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