Former sheriff’s deputy who robbed bank in 2018 strikes again

Published 9:29 am Thursday, July 14, 2022

SALISBURY — A  former Davidson County Sheriff’s deputy who was convicted of robbing a bank in Rowan County in 2018 was arrested again Wednesday for reportedly robbing F&M Bank on South Avalon Drive.

Police say at about 9:20 a.m., Jeffrey Dean Athey, 55, was found sitting in his pickup truck in the bank parking lot after going in the bank and handing a teller a note demanding money, receiving cash and leaving. Police say no weapon was shown and the note made no threat of a weapon. Athey was taken into custody without incident.

In 2018, Athey was convicted of robbing the F&M Bank on W. Main St. in Rockwell, but in that robbery he 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 vehicle. He was fired from his post with the Davidson County Sheriff’s Office after his arrest, and documents showed that he had also worked part-time as security for the bank during the previous Christmas season.

Court documents from 2018 show Athey was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and depression. Darrin Jordan, a court-appointed attorney representing Athey in 2018, 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, the company responsible for training Iraqi police.

Jordan pointed to Athey’s having built a concrete bunker in his mother’s home as evidence of his mental health. The bunker was outfitted with bells and cans to alert him if someone entered or approached, harking back to his time in Iraq and Afghanistan.

At the time of Wednesday’s robbery, he was under federal supervised release for his previous conviction. His sentence in the 2018 case was 48 months in jail followed by five years of supervised release, a $1,000 fine and $1,000 in restitution.

Athey is currently being held on a $75,000 secured bond.