Back to business as usual at CNB
Sunday evening around 6 p.m., a possible twist may have surfaced in the case of the CNB bank robbery and bombing Thursday, March 25, but authorities were not ready to give it any official credence as of press time.
New Market Constable Frank Soloman told the Herald that he answered a 5:20 p.m. 911 call Sunday from a concerned mother complaining that a man in a van was trying to kidnap her young daughter. He said a vehicle pursuit ensued between his car and the driver of the van on Mine Road and continued down several side roads, through a car wash and eventually into a field off Highway 92 at Miller’s Creek. Soloman said the driver of the van tried to wreck him several times before finally being corralled when he made a detour through a private field to avoid non-working bridge.
The driver of the van was determined to be a 41-year old James Garner Burroughs, a Pigeon Forge resident, who after a search of his van is now a suspect in Thursday’s CNB bank robbery.
Soloman said he found inside the van what appeared to be a pipe bomb, well over $600 in 10- and 20-dollar bills, a wig, a pair of glasses, and handcuffs.
Both Soloman and Bob Stahlke, Sevierville Public Information Officer, referred further questions about the case to the FBI. Burroughs is being held by Jefferson County authorities and charged with felony possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
Thursday’s bank heist was the first in Sevierville since Tennessee State Bank was robbed on December 8, 2003. The two victimized banks are located, approximately one mile apart, along the same stretch of Highway 66.
CNB Citizens National Bank Branch Manager Sandy McCarter said it was business as usual Friday morning, less than 24 hours after an unknown person armed with a briefcase filled with explosives and driving a Krispy Kreme Doughnut truck robbed the bank.
The perpetrator was originally described as a 35- to 40-year-old female, 5 feet 6 inches tall and weighing approximately 110 pounds. The suspect had long, dark curly hair that could have been a wig or hairpiece. The alleged perpetrator was wearing a long-sleeved green shirt, blue jeans and thick eyeglasses.
Sevierville Public Information Officer Bob Stahlke said Friday that the Knox County Police and the FBI are assisting on the case. He said authorities have begun the process of investigation and are hoping for information from the public.
According to a surveillance camera and bank employees, the bandit carried a black briefcase into the bank around 10:30 a.m., and handed a teller a note asking for an unspecified amount of money. The note reportedly warned of a bomb in the briefcase.
Officers from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and explosives (ATF) were brought in to detonate four pipe bombs found in the briefcase.
“It was very traumatic for everyone,” said McCarter Friday morning. “It was a scary situation.”
McCarter said the bank employees that witnessed the caper were all uninjured and back at work Friday morning.
“Everybody is fine, everybody is here,” stated McCarter, who said she was not in the building at the time of the robbery. “It’s back to business as usual.
“Everyone here has several years of banking experience and did exactly what they were supposed to do.”
She said that all the employees at the bank attend a yearly training session that teaches one what to do in such dire circumstances.
“We also have the protective glass and an on-guard officer to deter this from happening,” she explained. “This is the first time that anything like this has happened during the day. We’ve had some vandalism incidents at night in years past, but never anything like this. I’ve been working here for 15 years and it’s the first time it’s happened.”
McCarter said that the armed-guard was not on the premises at the time of the robbery.
The getaway doughnut truck was later located at S&S Mini Storage on West Mount Road in Kodak, approximately a mile from the holdup. Authorities have since learned that the truck had been stolen from the Krispy Kreme Doughnut Co. in Knoxville.