Husband, wife charged in bank robbery|[06/04/08]

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Jarrod Darnell SmithA Pennsylvania pair arrested last month in their hometown have been identified as suspects in a Vicksburg bank robbery and one attempted in Tallulah on the same day in May, police said.

Jarrod Darnell Smith, 36, 1509 Mauch Chunk Road in Allentown, and his wife, Shonda, no age available, were picked up May 11, after their car broke down and Allentown police, who assisted them, identified the couple as being wanted. The Smiths also are suspects in two Pennsylvania bank robberies.

During the investigation, authorities also linked them to the May 5 robbery at BancorpSouth on Pemberton Square Boulevard, and the attempted robbery at Regions bank on South Cedar Street in Tallulah, about a half-hour earlier.

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Vicksburg Police Lt. Bobby Stewart said both have been charged and the case will be handed over to the FBI. The couple will be prosecuted for all four charges at the federal level in Pennsylvania.

The May 5 robbery at the BancorpSouth branch at 3312 Pemberton Square Blvd. occurred at about 1:45 p.m. According to reports, a man walked into the bank and handed a teller a note that demanded money. Witnesses said the robber left the bank with money and fled the scene in a 2007 or 2008 Pontiac G6, which was driven by a woman.

Police did not disclose the amount of money stolen from the bank. They said no weapon was displayed.

At the same time he received the report of the Vicksburg robbery, Stewart said he was being contacted by Tallulah police about an attempted bank robbery in that town, about 20 miles west on Interstate 20. Tallulah officials said the would-be robber walked into the bank and, like the Vicksburg robber, handed a teller a note demanding money. However, the teller told the man that an alarm had been activated and the robber fled the scene.

Witnesses’ descriptions of the suspect in Tallulah matched exactly with the suspect in Vicksburg, officials said.

The May 5, bank robbery was the second in Vicksburg this year, the first being Jan. 30, at the Trustmark Bank branch at 3406 Halls Ferry Road. Arrested about a week later was 48-year-old Kevin Dale McCain of Petal. About $2,100 was taken, and some of the cash has been recoved.

McCain was indicted for that robbery during the May term of the Warren County Grand Jury and he is awaiting trial.

McCain also was linked to a Jan. 25 bank robbery in Marshall, Texas, as well as an attempted bank robbery Jan. 28 in Bossier City.

In the county this year, the lone bank robbery was March 20, at the Britton & Koontz Bank on U.S. 61 North. Authorities said the robber presented the appearance of a weapon through the pocket of a windbreaker. No arrest has been made.

The B&K robbery caused a 40-minute precautionary lockdown at nearby Sherman Avenue Elementary as officers canvassed a wooded area along Sherman Avenue abutting the northeastern boundary of Vicksburg National Military Park. Traffic stops were conducted at Sherman Avenue near the park boundary and K-9 units of both agencies searched the rough terrain.

Sheriff Martin Pace said that investigators have followed numerous leads and continue to do so.

Three bank robberies were reported in Vicksburg in 2007, and two have been solved and no arrest has been made in the third.