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Dozier First National robbed

Lone gunman gets away, no one injured

By George Wacha

Willie Smith and the employees at the First National Bank of Dozier are right now counting their blessings following a bank robbery that took place at approximately 2:15 p.m. Friday.

"At approximately 2:15 p.m., a black male came into the bank through the front door, pulling a ski mask on his face," said Shaun Wilcox of the First National Bank. "He was carrying a chrome-plated revolver-type handgun, and had a dark-colored canvas bag. He said, 'give me all of your money,' and acted really nervous, waving the gun around. He went to all of the tellers, and had them fill the bag with cash from their windows."

Wilcox said when the robber was through with all the tellers he acted as though he was somewhat surprised.

"He looked into the bag, as if to say, 'is that all?' and then looked at me and said, where's the back door? Lead me out of here.' I just opened the door, pointing to the rear outside door, and that was the last I saw of him," Wilcox said. "We did activate a silent alarm while he was inside though, and I am glad that it was silent, because he was really nervous."

"I am very proud of my employees," Smith said. "They handled the situation very well, just like they were trained to do, and responded to every request of the robber without causing him to become agitated and start shooting. I am also very proud that no one got hurt - it's very hard to stay calm when someone's waving a gun at you."

Once the gunman was out of the bank, one of the tellers ran out the front door.

"Jackie's wife (teller) came running out of the bank, saying that the bank had just been robbed," said William Taylor, a Dozier resident. "We ran around the Dixie Dandy store to try to catch him, and I saw a green car leaving on School Street."

The Crenshaw County Sheriff's Office (CCSO) and Dozier Police Department responded as soon as the silent alarm was activated.

"We really don't have much to go on," said CCSO Chief Investigator Ronnie White. "None of the people that were outside the bank are really even sure what color the car was - some are saying green, some dark blue, but they all agree that it was a black male with braids in his hair, driving a dark-colored car with tinted windows. We are right now reviewing the bank's video tape, trying to get a better description of the suspect."

"It was an awful lot of risk for such a small amount of money," Smith said. "Someone could have easily gotten injured or killed, all for less than $3,000. That was all that he got."

As is the case with bank robberies, the investigation will continue to be conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and had to respond from their Mobile field office.