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BCSO investigating bank robbery, shooting

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By The Staff

Sheriff's Office deputies and investigators were busy Tuesday responding to an apparent shooting in Moneta and an unrelated bank robbery in Forest. Information was still being gathered on the incidents at press time but updates on each investigation can be found at www.bedfordbulletin.com as it becomes available.

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    Bank robber Willie Sutton was once asked why he robbed banks.  “Because that's where the money is,” he replied.

    Someone apparently took the advice of the prolific Sutton, robbing the Forest branch of SunTrust Tuesday afternoon.

    According to Major Ricky Gardner of the Bedford County Sheriff's Office, his department received a phone call from an employee of the bank, located at 18077 Forest Road (at the intersection of Graves Mill Road), that the branch had been robbed.  That call was received at 2:31 p.m.

    Upon responding to the call, sheriff's deputies discovered that the suspect was long gone, having departed the bank's driving lot, heading down Graves Mill in the direction of the expressway.

    According to investigators, the robber had handed over a note to one of the bank's tellers which informed of his need for money.  It was reported that the robber allegedly said he had a gun, though it wasn't actually seen by the teller.

    Once the teller responded by handing over an undisclosed amount of cash, the robber fled to the parking lot, hopped into his late-model Forest-green Mustang and headed down the road.

    The Mustang is thought to have a spoiler and a “Boss” emblem on the back.  It was also estimated to be a 2006 model or newer.

    A good description of the suspect was not readily available as he was wearing a dark shoulder-length wig which also covered his eyes.  Atop the wig, he was wearing a light colored baseball cap with a logo which read either “V” or “W”.  To frustrate any guesses as to the subject's weight, he wore a bulky red coat over his black shirt.

    The branch was closed to business as members of the sheriff's office worked the crime scene, including the review of in-house video.  As a result, no SunTrust employees were available to be questioned for this article.

    The nearest business to the bank is a Burger King.  Employees at that restaurant didn't report seeing anything related to the robbery.

    SunTrust customers seemed dismayed with the turn of events.  Debbie Miller, a 10-year resident of Forest, was turned away.  “I lived in Clearwater, Fla., and San Jose before moving here and I tell my friends I live in Mayberry,” she said, shaking her head.  “I guess we're growing.  You get the good and the bad.”

    Miller also speculated that the robbery might have something to do with the state of the economy.  “I wonder how much this has to do with what's going on with people's lives,” she added.

    This same branch was also robbed on March 17, 2004.

    Also on Tuesday Bedford County Sheriff's investigators responded to the apparent shooting on Old Country Road in Moneta. An ambulance apparently left the scene and went to Staunton River Middle School to meet a Med-Flight helicopter to transport a patient to the hospital.